As you may have noticed, Lizzyfied has been pretty quiet lately. My usual schedule of posting twice a week has been abandoned and I don’t have any posts scheduled for the future either. The reason for this is that I have decided to quit Lizzyfied.View Post
I am not very good with failure. My instinct after a failure is to
Most of us grow up with a fixed mindset, instilled in us by our well-meaning caretakers. We hear that we are so smart and beautiful and talented. We get praised for our grades or our drawings or achievements in sport. Our parents and teachers try to encourage us by praising all of our positive attributes and successes. Although this sounds kind in theory, in reality, the praising of outcomes and attributes creates a fixed mindset. As a result of the fixed mindset, we start thinking about ourselves as static beings. I am smart. I am good at sports. Or I am a talented writer.
Fixed, or broken?
Although these thoughts about ourselves might be true, they are not helping us. By creating a static mindset in childhood, we often lack the mental resources in adulthood to deal with hardships and embrace failure. Let’s say you are really smart. You have always obtained good grades with ease and have been praised your entire life for your academic achievements. When you graduate, you feel pretty stocked about your future. But once you start applying to jobs, you keep getting rejected. You quickly learn – you are smart after all – that recruiters are not only looking for good grades, but also for soft skills, such as confidence, leadership skills and time management. You feel defeated, because in your fixed
Let’s contrast this with a child who has been raised with a growth mindset. In this parenting technique, children aren’t praised for their attributes and outcomes, they are praised for their efforts. “That is such a beautiful drawing. You are so talented.” becomes “Good job. I can see you have worked really hard on that drawing.” By praising effort and resourcefulness, a child creates a growth mindset. When a child is not doing well at school, a parent will encourage the child to find a way to make it work. When a child is doing well at school, a parent will encourage the child to find something that is a bigger challenge for the child. This way, the child is always looking for new challenges to overcome and learn from. It is not hard to see how a person who has developed a growth mindset during childhood sees a job rejection as just another challenge to overcome on their way to achieving their goals. No biggie.
Detach failure from self-worth
If you have grown up with parents who instilled a growth mindset in you, then congratulations. You probably don’t need much help embracing failure. But what about the rest of us? The ones for whom failure and rejection leaves a bitter taste in our mouths. How do we learn to embrace failure? The first and most important thing is that we need to detach failure from our self-worth. When you grow up hearing praise that is directly linked to your sense of self – you are smart, you are talented -, failure can seem like an attack on that inflated sense of self. But guess what? You are not stupid because you didn’t get the job. You are not bad at writing because you didn’t get that book deal. By detaching failure from our self-worth we can more easily learn and grow from the obstacle in our path.
My journey with failure
Recently, I pitched a story to a magazine that got rejected. Immediately, I got down on myself and thought of this as a sign that I should not pursue writing any further. But then I remembered what I had learned about the growth mindset. I remembered to embrace the failure by detaching it from my self-worth. Not getting one gig doesn’t mean I am a bad writer. I can learn from this experience by asking for feedback from the editor and examining my work. This way I can improve my writing, both generally and when tailoring my writing to that specific magazine. Learning to embrace failure is not easy – particularly with a stubbornly fixed mindset from childhood -, but when practiced enough can become a helpful tool in overcoming obstacles and challenges in your life.
What is one failure you have learned to embrace?
I have been happy lately. Like, really happy. After a few years of quite punishing health problems, I finally feel like I am coming out the other side and I can enjoy the little things again. 2019 has been a good year for me so far. I have been able to achieve some things, but mainly I have been able to take it easy. (Something that doesn’t come naturally to me.) I have taken a break from to-do lists and have spent many weekends just pottering about in my apartment. As a result, I have noticed happiness has crept its way back into my mind. Some days (and nights) have still been a little rough, but overall this year has been treating me with gentle kindness. And with that in
I am grateful for:
- finishing the Yoga with Adriene Challenge in January and absolutely loving it. I am so happy I rediscovered my love for yoga.
- in general, having the most relaxing and worry-free month I have had in a long time during January.
- meditating for 10 minutes daily in February. It was mêh (meditation routines aren’t for me), but I stuck with it and that is what matters. #willpower
- having some incredible (early) spring weather in the UK, meaning I spent lots of time hiking in the Yorkshire countryside and even making a trip to the Cotswolds. Who recognises the environment below from a Harry Potter movie?
- having a friend stay with us for the month of February, as she had to finish some business for her PhD. I was a bit worried about cramming another person into our tiny apartment, but it was actually really nice to have a roommate again (other than my boyfriend of course).
- being just the two of us, once our friend left.
- falling in love with the outdoors much more than I ever thought I would, when I went on a
- having an article of mine published on Tiny Buddha. This was by far one of the biggest highlights of this quarter. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can find the article here.)
- getting rid of our gross 70s bathroom and now having a sparkly new bathroom. #yay
- spending a weekend home-home with this little furry friend and eating lots of cake for my boyfriend’s birthday (told you I still eat sugar on the odd occasion!).
- successfully quitting sugar. I don’t eat any sugar anymore – including most fruits -, except for very special occasions, like a birthday. It is now part of my routine and I feel a lot healthier for it.
- going to a workshop on ‘dreaming big’ by Sophie. I learned so much during that 2-hour session, so if you live in the UK I can highly recommend checking out her upcoming workshops.
- receiving the most lovely comments on this more poetic post. Honestly, these comments had me beaming with happiness for days afterward.
- traveling to Israel with my best friend from The Netherlands. I don’t get to see her that often, which made this trip even more special.
- Working on a brand new design for my blog and getting excited about bringing my vision to life.
What have you been grateful for lately?