Self-Belief & the Power of ‘Not Yet’Posted: 26th of January 2015 by
Have you ever failed at a test? Maybe it was a spelling or maths test at school, perhaps it was your driving test, or maybe your exam grades weren’t what you had hoped they would be. Whatever it was, can you remember how that fail made you feel? You may have felt disillusioned, like you weren’t good enough, or maybe even felt that you were no good at all! Such feelings are fairly normal, but it seems they aren’t much use when it comes to improving yourself and getting ahead. In fact, it is time that you rephrased these failings into a more positive light. But, you may ask, how can you turn this negative feeling into something positive?
Critics say that young people have been raised in a culture of validation – meaning that young people need constant reassurance through test scores, awards, and congratulations on achievement. While these assertions may not be true for everyone, it certainly raises a question of what happens if this validation isn’t given.
Scientists have found that, generally-speaking, people break down into two categories – those who run from adversity and those who relish a challenge. Those who have a natural propensity to hide from their mistakes also tend to need more validation. They feel negative when things go wrong. However, there are also those who feel that failure is only a sign that they could improve, that they could get better, smarter, stronger, and achieve more. These people are much better at bouncing back from setbacks, and can actively go forward to achieve much more than their more defeatist peers.
Such modes of thought can be implanted in us when we are small children, by the means of encouragement to improve versus simply being told we had failed at something. For this reason, experts are encouraging parents to encourage their children by highlighting and rewarding improvement rather than just achievement.
A school in Chicago took this one step further when notifying students of what grades they got. The high school students needed the grades to graduate, but rather than being told they had failed, those who didn’t pass were given a more encouraging grade, which simply read, “not yet.”
The power of saying ‘not yet’ is evident; it speaks of opportunity, learning, and growth. It is in this that we see our failings as part of a larger learning process, rather than a final, devastating result. Plus, fortunately, it is something that we can develop in ourselves.
The scientists who broke people down into those who ran from those who faced failure, found that it is possible to go from one side to the other. If you change your mind, and start to see opportunity to improve you will become more resilient, but it has been shown that you could also see a greater improvement over others.
By putting your effort into facing difficulties you can encourage growth at a greater rate than those who don’t. This has been shown to be particularly true of those who are struggling. Rather than feeling like you are stupid for not knowing something, you can see it as an opportunity to grow. This more positive mindset will, in turn, improve your self-belief, and your ability to keep improving further.
So, why not change that ‘failure’ into a ‘not yet’ and watch yourself improve?
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