Growth mindset, high agency

When I fuck up…

Someone with a fixed mindset and low agency will judge me based on this failure and assume that’s all I’m capable of.

Someone with a growth mindset and high agency will tell me how they think I should improve (or not even tell me), and assume I’ll go fix it.

This also applies to products btw. You see it all the time. When a software release goes poorly, some customers will be like, “hey! I’m sure you already know, but just in case it helps, here’s a bug I found!”

While others assume the company is not interested in feedback and doesn’t want to improve, so instead, they online and rant, “xyz company just fucked up. I’m never going back. Can someone suggest a better alternative?”

This doesn’t just happen with software. This applies to cafes, t-shirts, relationships, basically everything in life.

When you get a crappy latte from your favourite cafe a few days in a row, do you say, “the standards have gone down, dammit, now I have to change my daily routine” or do you say, “oh, I wonder if they’re training new staff” or “I had better tell the owner the new milk they’re using isn’t great.”

When your partner does something you dislike (leave the clothes on the floor, for example). Do you grin and bear it because you assume they’ll get defensive and start a fight? And because you assume they won’t change and you won’t change, all you can do is pick up the clothes, and silently add it to their tab while holding a grudge.

Or do you let them know, and not worry about it, because the underlying assumption in your relationship is that you’re both constantly trying to be better as a couple? And you’ve got years of positive reenforcement and can see how you both have changed to fit each other better over the years. And you both understand that new habits take awhile to form, and reminders are generally helpful and not borne out of contempt.

Because of this one simple thing, different people experience life so differently.

One person is going through life constantly being disappointed. And constantly fearing they’re disappointing others. They look back and see a sea of failure. They are insecure because they believe that who they are is who they are. They spend their lives repressing themselves, hoping people don’t find out how shitty they are.

The other person is going through life communicating (and getting better at it), and growing. And constantly delighting in others’ growth. They look back and see how far they and everyone around them has come.

It’s not personal

Once you recognise this, you can take the insight a step further by looking from the outside in, and realising that most things aren’t personal.

If you run a business, you’ll see how two customers, given the exact same product, treat you in completely different ways.

If you’re a teacher, you’ll see two students, when faced with the exact same question, respond in completely different ways.

If you accidentally cut someone off while driving and raise your hand to apologise, you’ll see various people treat you in completely different ways.

When people treat you poorly, it’s a reflection of them, their fixed mindset and low agency, and very rarely of you.