We all have natural ability areas and challenging areas, but when we say, “I am good at this and bad at that,” we limit ourselves terribly. We may not even know that we are doing it. We keep doing what we seem to be good at, and we start avoiding what is harder for us to do. We sort ourselves into two boxes. One box (the stuff I’m good at) gets filled to capacity, and the other box (the stuff I’m bad at) gets doomed to emptiness, perhaps forever.
Don’t get me wrong, enjoy your gifts and natural talents, and make the most of them. However, look at the flip side too. Don’t limit yourself. I’m suggesting that no matter your age, you keep your options to grow open.
Unfortunately, the good at – bad at trend starts early. In childhood. In families. In friendships. In schools. Our natural talents are visible, we get praise for them, and we naturally choose to develop them. The “good at” grows rapidly, and we learn self-confidence and self-worth, which is a good thing. But the flip side is that we learn to avoid other things that we COULD become good at. Or that we could become okay at ~ but immensely enjoy.
“Yet” and “sensei” are two words reflecting concepts that can help shift you to become better at something that you think that you are bad at. Pick something that is hard for you and that you wish you were better at. Say your phrase and add the word “yet” at the end. “I am not good at ______________ yet.” You’ve just started your growth mindset. By adding “yet” you recognize that you are a work in progress and willing to grow. (You are shifting from the belief that you are not doomed at ____________ forever!)
Next, find a “sensei” (or more than one) to help you improve. Sensei is the Japanese word for teacher/mentor/expert/wise specialist. Seek someone who can teach, guide, and stretch you in your new direction and support and advise you as needed. Someone who can dedicate the time to you as you learn and practice the skills needed in your growth area.
Me, I’m working on my computer skills. Right here, right now. A work in progress. What’s yours?