Just a couple more…

Just a couple more years and I’ll get there.
Just a couple more tries and I’ll have it perfect.
Just a couple more lessons and I’ll be smart.

My father-in-law said this over and over in our recent visit. It had me thinking about how rare it is to encounter someone humble and in pursuit like this. Doing the hard work to maintain a growth mindset.

Many of us operate out of a fixed mindset. We’ve learned what we’ve learned. We know what we know. It is what it is. We are who we are. We are even more likely to fall into the fixed mindset trap as we get older and more experienced.

Inherently, we desire comfort and what’s comfortable is to put everything in a box that is predictable. What’s comfortable is to be right. What’s comfortable is to stop learning new things, stop considering other perspectives, stop challenging ourselves to grow.

How much more could we learn by maintaining the “just a couple more…” mindset?

Carol Dweck in her book Mindset refers to this same concept as “the power of yet.”

Beyond our desire to be comfortable, we get stuck in a fixed mindset because we want to feel safe, we desire to be loved, and we need to belong.

When we feel threatened or challenged, we move into self-protection and close down. We move into our fixed mindset and are unable to hear or see another perspective. These perceived threats can come in the form of an alternative view on something, a disagreement, a new way of looking at things, constructive feedback, etc. We perceive this different points of view as a threat against our intelligence and sometimes against the very belief systems upon which we have built our life and existence. No wonder we automatically move into self-protection and defensiveness. But it’s a choice to stay there.

We have to separate what is being said from the person saying it. We have to slow down our stimulus to response time. It takes a mature person to allow another perspective to be heard that threatens in this way. It takes an open mind and heart to consider that someone has a different lived experience and perspective than you do. It takes courage to stay in a conversation like this and seek out the lessons available to you to deepen your wisdom.

Our desire to feel loved also keeps us in a fixed mindset. We don’t want to mess up or be found out. We want others to believe we have it all together. We are ashamed of what we do not know or what we do wrong. Our greatest fear is that we are not worthy to be loved in spite of all of our flaws. This is a lie that so many of us are stuck in because of all the cultural conditioning telling us we aren’t good enough. The most challenging part of this lie is that we are the only person who can free ourselves.

Ironically, it is the asking for help, admitting we don’t know, and messing up that will allow us to heal this part of us and be more open. We have to let others in to support us and love us in the difficult and vulnerable times. This will prove to ourselves we are worthy of love regardless of what we do or don’t do. It will build our confidence that no matter what happens we can be loved.

Our need to belong gets in the way of a growth mindset because it’s easier to go along and get along than to struggle through to a place where we can get things right. If we are honest, most of us want to be liked more than we want to be respected, and that is a dangerous game to play. We allow things to happen and things to be said we know are wrong in the name of not rocking the boat or being cast out. We destroy trust and integrity with ourselves and others.

We can be more compassionate and comfortable having courageous conversations and maintaining our need to belong when (1) we have a clear definition of what good looks like and (2) we accept that we are all never-ending works in progress. We will fail and others will let us down, we will misunderstand and be misunderstood and we are loved in spite of it all.

We will not agree, we may not be able to understand but we can still choose respect, courage and kindness. This allows us to transform and be transformed, to create real and lasting positive change. Remain humble. Stay in pursuit. “Just a couple more…” is all we need to get us there.

2 thoughts on “Just a couple more…

  1. Just a couple more.,,,, this reminds me of riding my bicycle on RAGBRI. There would be a long stretch of road and I would be getting tired and see the next town come into view and I would say to my tired self just a couple more miles and I’ll be “there” all knowing that once I was “there” there would be a new “there” just a couple more.

    Liked by 1 person

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