I’m no good at that. That’s not my strength. I’ll never be able to make this work. Negative self-talk. That little voice of doubt on our shoulders. Common advice is to play to our strengths, but we don’t have to give in on the stuff that we think we’re bad at.
About half of our skills and gifts are genetically handed to us. The other half is down to us. It’s called neuroplasticity; the ability of the brain to build new connections. Information is passed through the brain by electrical signals through neurons, over gaps called synapses. These gaps mean we are not hard-wired in our thinking and processes, so we can change the way we think and act. It's a clever design feature so the brain can adapt to a changing environment. Therefore, we naturally can develop new pathways which means, practically, that we can do what we thought we would not be able to.
If you have already read my last blog Feedback is a Gift (https://www.rightmindfulness.co.uk/post/feedback-is-a-gift-even-when-it-s-criticism ) you may recall I talked about the difference between a Fixed and a Growth Mindset. This is a slightly different scenario, in that here, the difference is that we can either think we can do something or we can't. Most of the time it's a fulfilling prophecy too! A Fixed mindset means we will automatically assume that skills are mostly something we are born with, and there is no point thinking otherwise.
What if you thought differently? I can’t do that…YET! That little word is so powerful and can transform the way you think and feel about something you want to achieve. That is true growth mindset thinking, and it can power us to achieve almost anything we want.
In Carol Dweck’s book, The Mindset, she talks about the difference in results of schoolchildren who don’t get fazed by not having a natural aptitude for a subject and end up doing better than more gifted students who had a Fixed Mindset. The latter group felt they didn’t need to try. Use it or lose it. The non-naturals developed a Growth Mindset that hard work and practice would build their skills, and so it proved.
Remember the hare and the tortoise? We all want to be the hare, don’t we? We want our natural talent to carry us, without putting too much work in. Be the tortoise, practicing and working hard, using every ounce of your abilities, and it will carry you to the winning post if you develop the Growth Mindset.