We all do things, and there are outcomes to them, good or bad.
But there is always a choice, either to associate that outcome with our effort or with our identity.
For example, if you are in an office party and crack a joke which makes everyone laugh hard, you can take it in 2 ways.
First — I am such a funny guy (Identity)
Second — I cracked such a funny joke (Effort)
Let us take another example. If you participated in a chess game with your colleague at work, and you lost badly. You can take it in 2 ways.
First — I am bad at chess (Identity)
Second — I played really bad (Effort)
You are probably asking now, “We get the difference, but do it matters?”
I do matters.
Firsts are examples of the Static Mindset. Which believes that skills are innate.
Seconds are examples of the Growth Mindset. Which believes that skills are acquired.
Let us say the first scenario happens multiple times. You likely will start identifying yourself as a funny guy. And someday, when you end up telling a bad joke, the people will make fun of you. This will hit you harder than it should. And if this happens 2–3 times, it will deter you to crack jokes again, because the bad performances hit your self-esteem.
Interestingly, cracking good jokes is not an innate talent. Anybody can learn to crack good jokes. You just need to think of something funny and deliver it in an interesting way. One of the funniest Stand-up comedians you know spend a lot of time in open-mics practicing their jokes, editing their material and once polished, then bring it in front of everyone. So much so for being a funny person!
You will have a much easier life when you chose scenario two. Your identity is not closely associated with your performance. It is all on effort. You lost at a game of chess, no problem, you just put up a poor show. Everyone has bad days. With enough practice, you will get there.
It is such a light-hearted way of looking at things that it is a Superpower. And we all need superpowers, cheers to Growth Mindset :-)
The learning myth: Why I’ll never tell my son he’s smart — by Salman Khan, Khan Academy
A Summary of Growth and Fixed Mindsets — by Carol Dweck, Fanam Street
No Limits: The Art and Science of High Performance — by Mukesh Bansal, Cult, Myntra