I have never seen how obvious how two different perspectives could change how you approach life until I took both of my children rollerskating a few weeks back.
My daughter… took one step with the rollerskate onto the rink… .and stepped back off and sat on the side pouting – she did this for a good 20 minutes while I tried everything to get her back in the rink.
My son went off on his own… thwap – fall, get up… skate skate skate thwap fall…. get up again and so on.
My daughter was close to tears sitting there – saying that it was too hard. I said “Of course it’s too hard, you barely tried!” She said “If I skate – I will fall” I said “So? What if you do? Look at all the other kids in the rink – they are falling and getting up and trying again”. She said “But I’m not good”, I said “Yes, that’s because it takes practice”, She wasn’t buying it.
I was exhausted from trying to encourage her (as she gets her stubbornness from me) that I just decided to skate around on my own – reliving my childhood and watching my son fall… get up – and skate for a few steps and fall again.
The best moment came when my daughter’s friend from school happened to show up (unplanned) and was equally as bad as my daughter. I said “Look, your friend can’t skate either but she’s still trying – you should at least try together”. My daughter rolled her eyes and got up and decided to “try to skate” with her friend who was also trying (but failing).
My daughter gradually got better but still not very confident as the day went on – and as she could see herself improve (and she never fell until right before we left) she was proud of herself… even though she was quite shaky.
MY son decided he was good enough to go in the big rink – I filmed him while giggling to myself – he fell a couple of times with the big-league skaters but I was proud of him for not being afraid to fail (or fall).
MY daughter – only fell once in the end – said it was a great day – but it took her the whole time to let go of the side because she was so afraid to fall.
My Son – Skated the whole time – anywhere he wanted to go, he went. He fell – got back up and kept going. MY son’s comment was “Did you see how good I was? It was my first time skating and I only fell 17 times!! That was awesome!!”
My son had not put pressure on himself to be perfect and kept persisting and achieved his goals for the day. My daughter – still felt proud of herself but took the whole time we were there to finally let go because she was so afraid to fall.
How do you approach life?
Read more about perspective with Carol S. Dweck’s Book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success