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Do you feel the fear of failure? Do you take badly any criticism?
Imagine that you are at work and you send a report to a colleague to get her feedback.
She comes to you a bit later in the day and mentions several mistakes in your report. In particular a simple spelling mistake.
You feel ashamed, hurt, and even angry about her. “Who does she think she is to say that to me? Miss so perfect! I hate her.”
And you start to think that you are stupid, a bad person, incompetent. And so on for one hour. Or the whole day.
For a spelling mistake.
Does it feel familiar? Have you experienced such strong emotions for a little something you did wrong?
Let me tell you something. There is nothing wrong with you.
There is something wrong with your mindset.
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A mindset issue?
What is a mindset? it is defined as “a set of attitudes”. This is how you react, how you behave when you face a situation.
You are using a fixed mindset.
This term has been proposed by the psychologist Carol S. Dweck in her book “Mindset”.(#AffiliateLink)
I highly recommend you read it. It helped me a lot to understand what was wrong with my mindset and how I could change it.
I wrote an article where I explain this in more detail, but let’s remind the main point here.
In her book, Dweck defines the fixed mindset as the belief that your abilities are fixed and can’t be improved.
You believe that you can’t get better.
The problem with this way of thinking is that you need the urge to prove over and over that you are good, competent.
If someone notices that you do something wrong, even a little, you start to think that you are totally wrong. That you are a failure. You identify yourself with the failure.
Thus, any situation where you may fail appears as a real danger. A danger that everybody finally realize how bad, how fake you are.
With a fixed mindset, you believe with all your heart and your brain that you have to prove everybody that you are good. What a battle, what a stressful situation!
You don’t see anymore the opportunity to learn and improve your skills. Only the little detail that was wrong.
I have good news.
Very good news.
You can change this.
Because a mindset is a set of attitude, a behavior, you can learn a different one. And use it instead of a fixed mindset.
It is called a growth mindset.
How to start to change your mindset?
I will write more about that in another article, but you can already read this one.
Here, I just want to give you a tip.
When you experience such a situation, I know that you will focus on you and isolate yourself with your negative thoughts.
Don’t let your little voice (another topic I will address a lot on this blog) control you. Let it speak to itself and try to focus on these simple questions.
“What can I do to improve this situation?”
“How can I avoid this mistake the next time?”
“What strategy or tactics can I use to do this better?”
Set your mind at solving the problem and forget about yourself.
Another tip is to focus on the other person. How can you help her? How can she help you?
Get out of your own mind and make contact with the reality.
A typo in a report is not the end of world even if you really feel like it is.
I know, I am like you. But I am getting better. I am not fixed.
Neither are you.
You can get better.
And you will.
I am here to help you.
Before you leave this page, I want you to do something.
Start to be conscious that when you live this painful experience, it is because you believe that you cannot improve.
And remind yourself that you can improve.
A last word:
“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”B.F. Skinner