Most of us avoid mistakes at all costs. We want to do everything right. It’s not natural to enjoy doing something that you are not good at. We want to be validated and affirmed in our skills, intellect, creativity, etc. But could those mistakes actually be good for you? What if failing is necessary for growth?
I came across an article recently in The Atlantic titled “Don’t Call Kids ‘Smart’”. As a parent-to-be and a formerly labeled “smart” kid, this article caught my eye. To summarize for you, the article argues that labeling a child as “smart” causes them to become “especially averse to making mistakes, which are critical to learning and succeeding”. Once labeled as smart, kids tend to stop trying when things get tough. As I thought more about this, I realized that a proper mindset is not only important for young kids but for all of us.
Growth, even stress, is essential to life. If we are talking in terms of anatomy, stress is a prerequisite to muscle growth. Your body cannot grow stronger without experiencing stress (i.e. heavy squats, ring dips, or Fran) and adapting to it. Every time you step in the gym, or start a large project, or prepare a speech for your class, you are opening yourself to being stressed and therefore allowing yourself to grow. Making the mental switch to viewing these things as opportunities instead of obstacles is critical.
So next time you step into the gym and see a movement or workout that seems too hard instead of rolling your eyes or worse just skipping class that day, take the opportunity to try it, possibly fail, but smile knowing that’s how we improve.