We have all said it at one point or another. “This is too hard, I can’t do it.” Changing our mindset and unleashing the power of “yet” can help us overcome these difficult issues.
It’s incredible what a change to our mindset can do. You’ve probably heard Henry Ford’s famous saying, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right.” Change your mindset to include the power of “yet”.
“I can’t do that” becomes “I can’t do that YET.”
“I don’t understand” turns into “I don’t understand YET.”
And “I don’t know” changes to “I don’t know YET.”
If you don’t believe me, take Zoe and Elmo’s word for it:
Learning From the Leaves
Allow me to get a bit philosophical for a moment. A few weeks ago I was hiking through the woods alone. I hike a lot, but I’m almost always with Ashley and the kids. Because these solo hikes happen so infrequently, I really appreciate them. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking with my family, but there is something special about being in the woods by yourself.
This particular day, I was on a remote enough trail so that I didn’t see a single person throughout the hike. I took a break up on a rock about halfway through the hike and took in the quietness of it all. As I sat there, I noticed that in the dead of winter, there were a number of leaves that were still holding onto their oak trees. The entire tree was barren except for a select few leaves. They had made it through fall and half of winter. Rain. Snow. Wind. Everyone else was on the ground, but not those few.
As I was admiring those leaves, I decided that as often as possible, I want to be like them. It’s not possible in every facet of my life, but can I outlast the rest here and there? Sure I can! And, so can you!
I have written before about the importance of having a growth mindset and the impact it can have on children. But a growth mindset is the gift that keeps on giving throughout adulthood.
Carol Dweck was one of the pioneers of this perspective. She wrote a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In it, she encourages all of us to embrace challenges, to work through difficult tasks, and to realize that every obstacle can be overcome through positive commitment.
My kids recently started karate. One of the quotes that the dojo uses quite often is, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” I love this quote because it’s reminding my kids that no matter how many times they fail, keep trying.
Don’t give up.
Move forward with perserverence and determination.
One other word that comes to mind: Grit
Angela Duckworth’s book by that title is a fantastic read about the importance of grit and perseverance, and how one can improve upon it. It helped cement my belief in a growth mindset as an educator and a father. But it also made me realize that I need to exhibit as much grit as possible in my own life to work through the hard times life throws at us.
Fear of Failure
Remember the episode of Friends when there is a blackout in New York and Chandler gets stuck in an ATM with Jill Goodacre? He spends an hour attempting to talk with her, but his fear of failure keeps things incredibly awkward.
We all have a fear of failure. I see students every day who are 99% sure they know the answer to a question but won’t raise their hands because of that minuscule possibility they could be wrong.
People have dreams of starting their own business or applying for that huge job promotion, but never do because they are so fearful of not succeeding.
I’ve had a tough time overcoming the fear of failure in my life as well. I was one of those students who hated to be called on in class in case I was wrong. It took me a year of thinking about starting a blog before I decided to make the jump. And when I took a major pause in the blog last year, I had that feeling of failure at first before I realized that I could use my experience to start back up and make it even better.
The power of yet helps us overcome some of that fear of failure. We start to realize that it’s not that we’ve failed, we just haven’t succeeded yet.
How I’m Using the Power of Yet
I’m not a great writer “YET”
When I first started this blog, one of the scariest things was the fear of people reading what I wrote. I wasn’t really worried about my ideas so much as I was concerned about whether my writing would properly (and accurately) convey what I was trying to say. My only real experience with writing previous to this blog was high school English papers and a bunch of History and Education papers in college and grad school. How could I possibly write something good enough for some stranger on the internet to actually bother to read?
I still struggle with it, but I try to remind myself that as I continue to write more and more, I’m (hopefully) getting better and better at it. So even though I’m not a great writer yet, I’m improving with every new post.
I’m Not Always a Great Listener “YET”
In a previous post, I wrote about the strategies and tactics that I have employed to hopefully become a better listener. It is a work in progress for sure, but the key is my mindset.
I’m not giving up on the fact that I sometimes don’t listen well to others. Instead, I’m realizing that this is a skill that I can improve on. If I focus on it and make it a priority, I will improve as a listener.
Find Your Power of Yet
So, unleash the power of yet. Three little letters that can have a life-changing impact.
Change those negative thoughts into positive ones simply by adding that one word at the end of a statement. You may really surprise yourself. Find out what you are capable of achieving once you change your mindset.
Let’s all make the rest of this year our best one YET!