You all know the stories, about princesses that are struggling because of evil stepmothers, witches, wizards, curses, you name it. It always goes the same way, then a prince in a shining armour arrives and saves the princess from all evil and they live happily ever after. Is there something wrong with these stories? Maybe… I am no expert, but from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, what they try to tell you is to wait for your prince to arrive and save you. Got that? Okay, now just sit patiently and wait.
I read an article the other day. You can find it here:
Basically the idea in it is that you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. In the fixed mindset, you believe that either you have “it” or you don’t. By it meaning you are smart and talented and “it” is fixed at birth. You are born with what you can have. In the growth mindset, you can learn what you need: “A “growth mindset,” thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”
What does this have to do with Cinderella? The story tells you to accept what you have, be nice and daydream about the day that might or might not arrive in the form of Prince charming. But what if there is no prince? Just accept your “faith”?
I was brought up in an environment where they enforced the fixed mindset and I am pretty sure they did this without realising it. By they I mean parents, school systems, friends, almost everybody. Either you have it or you don’t. If you are born with a Stradivari in your hands great, if not, sorry!
I am not saying that the growth mindset is better, I am saying that I finally realised why all this confusion in my head. I do not have a fixed mindset. Trying to force me into it makes me dizzy and I start to question my sanity. Why?
In the fixed model you seek validation all the time from others, just doing the things you want and getting satisfaction from that is not enough. I learned that too, to seek validation from others. I learned to valuate my success by how much money I make. Hence I feel that my head is exploding. The hunger for approval is there. That is what has been encouraged in me. I am either smart or stupid and what I am learning has nothing to do with anything, it has no value. Plus I’d better stop, since I am not making enough money. Cause there is just no point in doing the things you love and learning new stuff. When do I get a decent job? How long am I continuing wandering around aimlessly? These are monologues I’ve heard zillion times. They make me come apart.
I feel that they are attacking what ever I think I am and I need time to recover. Meaning that I have to go through an inner monologue of reassuring myself, of picking up the pieces and need to get back to doing things as soon as possible, to remember what is really important. It isn’t money. Countless times I’ve asked, why is it that it’s not enough that I sing or do whatever, why is it that most people measures success by money? Why isn’t the doing enough proof of your success?
Until now I didn’t understand why I am feeling the way I do, why I care about what people are saying and why do I seem to come apart. Finally I realised, that it’s all because of a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset. I believe that it is enough that I thrive on the learning experience and on the doing part. You can say that I’m terribly naive, people need money to live, true, but that’s not my point. I’d say that the world mostly operates on a fixed mindset. But I feel and hope that it’s changing. I guess I have no other choice but to believe that nothing is certain and you can change. Yes, it’s part of my mindset, part of being an idealist and all that.
So what now? I’ll just wait for my Prince charming to arrive. Any minute now…