The Growth Mindset
2011 has been quite the year for Cory Roush. If you knew me in 2010, you’d probably still recognize me now and you might not notice anything different about me, but my life has turned inside out and upside down since December of last year. On the inside, I feel like an entirely different person.
As a kid, I played hours and hours of video games. My favorite genre was the fantasy RPG. I could be sucked into a role-playing game almost instantly. The world, the characters, the story… it all fascinated me. As I got older, the stories didn’t become any less interesting, but another goal came into focus: character improvement. I found that if I just devoted some time to hacking and slashing my way through more and more rounds of creatures, I would gain experience or items that would increase my character’s strength and abilities. The Final Fantasy series began treating this aspect of their games in a very unique way, giving you access to a vast grid full of new skills and power-ups that had to be unlocked. Oh, and did I mention that you had to make important decisions about which path your character would take?
This isn’t a video game review, so I’ll wrap up the analogy. Ever since those days I have been fascinated with the idea of living a life that is much like a Final Fantasy game. No, not with swords and diabolical villains… with a growth mindset. The attitude that every day doesn’t have to be a reiteration of the days before it, and that you can learn and develop as a multi-faceted person.
It’s helped me shape my philosophy of education, also; there is nothing that cannot be learned if you are willing to work hard enough at it. That’s the key, of course, and it’s what separates me from the world class athletes or the brave soldiers sent overseas by our military.
And now I’ve got to admit that I’m a hypocrite.
I don’t feel as if I’ve grown enough. I don’t feel as if I’ve changed enough. I don’t feel as if I’m really all that different than I was on May 31st, 2010. It’s not true, of course, but the actual change is probably equivalent to going from version 1.0 to version 1.25 in the operating system known as life.
Learn how to speak Spanish. Take up photography. Travel outside of the United States. Learn to play a musical instrument. Write more. Read more. Be more honest with those you care about. Speak up for yourself. Be more assertive. Take a stand, make a difference.
I haven’t done any of it, yet, but I scoff at the people who are satisfied with the status quo. I cringe when I see people content to just keep doing things the way they were done before. I get frustrated when people don’t care to add anything to their lives, when they feel as if they can never amount to anything more than the person they became when they graduated from high school or left college.
So I’m a hypocrite. But if there is one thing that I despise more than anything else in the world, it’s hypocrisy. And so beginning today, I’m going to work on version 1.26, and then 1.27. And maybe soon I’ll get the courage to jump to 2.0.