Friday, June 1, 2012

It is true what they say...

I have spent multiple years of teaching telling my students that they must have a "growth mindset" if they want to succeed.  After reading the book, Mindset a few years ago, I felt like my life was changed in a very profound way.  I felt like I was awakened to the idea that my attitude in life truly does determine my success. From that day forward, I vowed to have a growth mindset and to be a model of a growth mindset to my students and my own children.  I found myself sharing stories with my students about times in my life where my mindset had held me back and how I wished I had recognized how much my fixed mindset was holding me back.  I found myself feeling like such a good role model and thinking that I had this mindset thing down...That is until I decided I wanted to begin to play the violin at age 33 and a half!

Last night I walked into the City Music Center in Crestwood, I felt all of those old fixed mindset moments coming back and the negative self talk beginning to try and take me over.  "You are too old to do this." "Everyone in here is wondering what I am doing here."  "I can't even read music."  "I 've never even help a violin before!"  When I walked up to the counter and asked to rent a violin, the lady behind the counter actually asked me if the violin was for me as she looked around for the child I must be renting it for.  As I bit my fingernails and waited for my lesson to begin, I realized that for the first time since I had read about mindset, I wasn't just thinking about how to have a growth mindset, I was actually living it!  As scary as it was, I realized that if one only lives a life where everything is safe and you feel successful, you aren't really providing yourself with the opportunity to grow and have a growth mindset.  It is easy to sit in a place of safety and tell others that they need to have more of a growth mindset, but until I am in a situation where I am uncomfortable and feeling unsure of myself, I don't really understand what it is to work through that moment where you tell yourself that only people with innate musical talent can learn to play an instrument.

As I left the lesson holding my "student" violin, I smiled a tiny smile and felt an incredible sense of pride as I realized that I was finally practicing what I preached.  In that moment, I was truly embodying the growth mindset, and I never want to turn back again!

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