I have always believed that I can do anything, if I put my mind and energy into that thing.
When I was 17, I wanted to be done with high school. Don’t all kids face the feelings of wanting to quit? (Has anyone ever graduated from high school? Of course!) I just hadn’t done it – yet.
When I was in undergrad, I wanted to be done with college. I told my mom I wanted to take a break from college, and work as a waitress for a semester. She told me no – if I took a break, I’d likely not go back. (Has anyone ever graduated from college, despite wanting to take a break? Of course!) I just had not done it – yet.
When I decided to move to the Mexican border, to take a job teaching, despite never teaching before, I was scared. (Has anyone ever crossed the country, chasing their dreams? Of course!) I just hadn’t done it – yet.
When I wanted to change the way my high school was run, I chose to go back to school to get a Master’s. (Has anyone ever gotten a Master’s while teaching full time? of course!) I just hadn’t put in the time – yet.
When I saw the opportunity to get a doctorate, despite not believing I was that smart, that knowledgeable, or able to write that well, I questioned my sanity. With each challenge that doctorate brought in front of me – staying in school despite having complications with my diabetes, having a new baby at home, being a single parent, working full time, writing a dissertation – I thought about giving up. (Has anyone ever gotten a doctorate, despite being faced with immeasurable challenges? Of course!) I just hadn’t figured out how – yet.
Carol Dweck did a TED Talk about “The power of believing that you can improve.”
Some people have a fixed mindset – “This is all I’m ever going to be able to know.” They are stuck when they uncover a problem they don’t know how to fix. They are “gripped in the tyranny of now” – I don’t know how to do it now, so I’ll never know how to do it. Other people, like me, have an “improvement mindset,” or a “growth mindset” where, I may not know how to do it now, but I know I can figure it out. Let me give you two examples….