30 days of growth mindset: day 8

I’m struggling with translating the “30 days of growth mindset” challenge into actionable steps, but I’ve had a couple of times in the last week where I’ve picked up on an opportunity to learn.

One at work, in a situation where I could have felt threatened and annoyed, but instead I recognised that this was an opportunity to respond to a challenge. That conversation has made me determined to do what I can to put myself into a position to take up the challenge.

Another one was at school, where Kramstable’s teacher noted that Kramstable needs to think more about what he’s learning and the key messages in things he reads, as well as being able to understand the actual facts and the story. I want to help him do this, without being naggy about making him explain the moral of everything he reads. I don’t want to make reading a chore for him, but I want to help him explore things where there are relevant messages for him. The balance between reading something for fun and nothing else, and reading as an opportunity to grow. I must tread carefully here. I can’t make him learn!

(This reminds me of one of Gretchen Rubin’s Eight Splendid Truths). She says:

Happy people make people happy, but I can’t make someone be happy, and no one else can make me happy.

Ergo, I can model learning behaviours and a growth mindset, and create an environment in which it’s easy to learn and grow, but I can’t make my son learn.)

I said I was going to identify potential learning opportunities at the start of each day as I’m planning my day, but I’m struggling to do this, aside from the obvious things I can learn from – listening to podcasts, reading and doing my French lessons. Nothing else has really jumped out at me as an opportunity to grow. I feel like I’m failing here . . .

Whoah girl! Back up!

Not everything you’re going to do each day is going to be a chance to learn something! And the things that are learning opportunities aren’t necessarily going to be in your plan.

Time to stop planning and ask myself what I want to get out of this month.

  1. Accept that I can’t do everything perfectly, not shy away from doing something that I think I can’t do (yet). If something comes up in my daily plan that I’m reluctant to do because I’m scared of screwing it up, acknowledge this, see it as a learning opportunity, go and do it anyway and see what I can learn. This might happen a couple of times a week. It might happen once in the month. It’s unlikely to happen every day. I have to let that one go.
  2. Identify things that happened during the day that I can learn from. Not everything is a learning opportunity. Some things I’ll  be able to learn from, others will just be things and will be what they are, and that’s all they need to be.
  3. Learn a new skill! Deliberately put something into my day that I can’t do. Yet. I am doing this every day. So I am NOT failing.

I went back to Carol Dweck’s book (Mindset) on Monday and had a look at the exercises at the end of each chapter. There are some which are specific journalling type activities (e.g identifying someone you consider to be a hero and find out about the effort they had to put in to achieve whatever you admire them for). I think I could do some of these as stand-alone exercises to get more of a feel for what a growth mindset might feel like.

Other activities in the book are more reflective about things that happen during the day – like calling yourself out when you call yourself stupid and trying to improve rather than judge yourself. That puts some structure around point #2 above.

Remembering to do these reflections and finding the learning experiences in the noise of the day is the challenge. I suppose it’s just a matter of persisting and gradually the shift will come.

Something to think about.

I’m still not sure what to actually write about this month, but I feel OK about abandoning my original plan of having to identify learning opportunities each day, because there might not necessarily be any. I’ll try to be more relaxed, and let them come when they come.

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