WHY WE DON’T GET WHAT WE WANT
My mind is a busy place ( I work hard on taming it a bit ), and today, for a brief moment, I pondered why some people get what they want, and others don’t.
Most people don’t get what they want because they never even try to get it.
Like it’s even too hard to think a bit about how to get something.
How do we get in our own way?
– We’re too afraid – of failure, of success, of who knows what.
– We feel too incompetent
– We feel overwhelmed – don’t know where even to start, how to go about it
– We feel discouraged because maybe, at some point in life, we tried and failed – but we never thought of taking stock, checking for circumstances that might have contributed to that outcome
– We prefer to think it’s all down to some innate skills that we don’t possess. Otherwise, we would get what we wanted.
Welcome to the world of fixed mindset!
That never ceases to shock me. So much human potential is lost due to this misconception.
What is a fixed mindset?
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.
So, if something isn’t happening, you may think it’s because you’re not ‘good enough’ or don’t know enough. And you’re probably right! But just one word added at the end of that kind of statement can change everything. The world I’m talking about is YET.
Many times in my life, I’ve heard that I was lucky in life or that I got something because of my talent. Talent and luck – the perfect duo!
There was a time when I enjoyed it. I felt special. Not so much about the lucky part, but definitely about the talented part.
Now, when I hear that, I feel a slight insult coming. Why? Because that statement takes away my hard work, experience, and skills.
I now know better. Yes, you need a bit of luck in life, but you also create your luck.
As for the talents, they can give you a bit of an edge and a head start but won’t get you to the finish line without work. Oh, how I know that now!
In many areas of life, I had to shift my fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Hell, I still work on it every day.
There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.
You can change; you can grow. What you have and where you are do not have to be your final destination.
If you want something in life, take a minute and think about it.
- What do you want?
- Why do you want it?
- What will you gain from getting it?
- What you may lose by getting it?
- Who would you need to become to get it?
- What skills do you need, and what would you need to learn?
WHEN YOU SAY IT’S HARD, ARE YOU SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE OR EXPECTATION?
We just assume things and never test some assumptions.
Remember the famous H. Ford’s quote?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,”
It sums up how our attitude determines our future success or failure.
If you expect something to be hard, you waste some precious energy.
On the other hand, if you think something will be easy, you may jump in eagerly and then find out you underestimated the challenge.
In the first case, you do not take any action and do not learn anything.
In the second scenario, you learn something new whether you win or fail.
We might assume that learning Chinese is difficult. And yet, last time I checked, there were quite a few people in the world speaking it fluently!
JUMP IN AND LEARN IN THE PROCESS
You will get better at things as you do them.
Not too long ago, I got a fish tank and some fish. Not for myself, but as a birthday gift for my son.
The reason I got fish was that I ~assumed~ fish was easy. You know, you get a fish tank, pour some water, plop the fish, feed them whenever you remember to feed them, and voila!
A couple of fish funerals later, I know better. Had I known everything that I know now about fish, I might have gone for a turtle—or just stuck to the free-range spiders we have at home. Or ants.
The point is, I got myself into it because I had thought it would be easy.
Now, I actually know a bit more about how to care for fish, and it’s going well. Or at least the fish turnaround isn’t as intense. I studied, and I learned.
My point is that instead of wasting too much energy thinking of how hard/difficult something maybe, it would be better to ideate how to get it and then simply try different things by prototyping.
Have you ever seen a newborn? Most of us are not born with all the skills we need in life.
We are learning machines in our first years of life, and then many of us stop. All of a sudden, it’s no longer about trying and learning, but about our luck and talents.
JUST TRY, THEN PAUSE > REFLECT > IMPROVE > TRY AGAIN
Some say: „Just do it.”
I’d say: Just try doing it. Then stop, reflect, improve. Developing a growth mindset will serve you well!
Start where you are, with what you have, and go from there.
- Follow your curiosity.
- Research something. read something, learn something. If you’re not Elon Musk, chances are, someone has already done it before you, and you can learn from them.
As you try, you learn in the process. If you start small, lower your expectations, and temporarily suspend your judgment („let’s pretend what I am about to try IS possible”), and get some small wins, you’ll gain some momentum.
Starting is often the most challenging part if you’re overwhelmed, and continuing something is hard when you’re discouraged. But that should not stop you, as there are many ways to overcome both overwhelm and discouragement!
Happy tinkering, kids!