The ‘Power Of Yet’ That Carol Dweck Believes Will Change Your Life

How do you respond to failure? Do you beat yourself up and run from difficult obstacles? Or, do you look for growth opportunities when things get tough? In her excellent TED Talk ‘The Power of Yet,’ Carol Dweck explains a new way to respond to challenges that has the power to transform how we learn, teach, lead, and parent.

What is the Power Of Yet Carol Dweck Talks About?

The power of yet Carol Dweck speaks about in her TED talk shows us a way to transform the way we think about failure, obstacles, and setbacks in our lives.

In her research on growth mindset, Carol Dweck describes two different mindsets that people tend to associate with: growth mindset and fixed mindset.

Those with a fixed mindset tend to feel intimidated by challenges because they feel that their intelligence is being put to the test. When people with a fixed mindset experience failure, it is common to place blame, look for shortcuts, or validate their efforts by finding someone who did worse.

By contrast, people with a growth mindset are more likely to harness the power of yet Carol Dweck describes. When we believe in the power of yet, we see the potential that we can give ourselves when we view setbacks as ‘not yet’ moments.

Let’s dig into this further and make some connections to growth mindset.

The Power of Yet: Growth Mindset

So, what is the power of yet, and how does it relate to your mindset? When it comes to the power of yet, growth mindset is an essential tool. A person who uses a growth mindset doesn’t let failure or obstacles hold them back. Instead, they look at failure and obstacles as ‘not yet’ moments.

A ‘not yet’ moment is what we experience when we don’t quite reach our goal. While some see this as a setback, obstacle, or a failure, a person using a growth mindset sees room for growth. This is one of the key differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

When we believe in the power of yet, growth mindset allows us to see a way forward through the failure or obstacle. A failure isn’t an endpoint that judges our intelligence permanently. Instead, the power of yet shows us that with hard work and perseverance, we can get there!

Do you ever feel like starting to work toward a big goal just doesn’t seem worth it? After all, there are plenty of other people out there who have already reached your goal. So why bother?

When it comes to big obstacles that seem to stand in the way of our goals, the power of yet gives us the motivation to keep going. Sure, others are more successful, and you haven’t reached those heights… YET.

Rather than giving up on your big hopes and dreams before you even start, let the power of yet remind you that you can do anything you put your mind to!

The Power of Yet: Parenting and Teaching

In the Power of Yet TED talk, Carol Dweck describes an interesting school that applies the power of yet to help its students use a growth mindset approach to failure. At this school, instead of awarding failing grades, ‘not yet’ grades are awarded.

Think of the power this message has for a student who was not successful! Students that believe in the power of yet understand that, while they haven’t met the goal of passing, they haven’t done so YET. This is an incredible application of growth mindset in the classroom.

Simply telling a student that they failed places a lot of responsibility on them. It requires them to recognize that there is still a path out of their lack of success, which can be difficult for young people. This can cause them to lose the motivation to try again.

When we believe in the power of yet, Carol Dweck tells us that we have a better chance of raising children and teaching students that big dreams are worth having. Big dreams are also worth sticking to when things get tough.

Praising Wisely

One of the most powerful lessons from Carol Dweck’s research is the importance of praising wisely. She explains that it is important to be very intentional about praising the processes children use, their effort, and the strategies they apply, rather than their intelligence or their ability.

In the Power of Yet, Carol Dweck explains that praising perseverance and improvement is important if we want to raise children that readily look for growth in failure. Praising intelligence and talent only further leads children down the road to a fixed mindset. And it is here that children learn to give up when they experience setbacks.

For people with a fixed mindset, words such as effort and difficulty can make them feel inferior, stupid, or not enough. If we believe in the power of yet, these words instead become pathways toward growth.

As parents, teachers, and leaders, we have the opportunity to help those in our care understand that the setbacks of now do not define us. Instead, the power of yet awards so much more confidence and potential, and helps us find a way through the struggle.

How Will You Use The Power of Yet?

It is amazing how much power a three letter word has. This shows that the language we use has power over our mindset.

When I think about the power of yet, I am reminded of Zig Ziglar’s famous quote ‘your attitude determines your altitude’. There is always a choice in the way you view setbacks, and choosing to find the ‘not yet’ moment has the power to propel you to new heights.

Making the change to believe in the power of yet is one of the easiest but most effective exercises you can use throughout the day to change your attitude toward setbacks.

When you find yourself having doubts about what you are capable of, simply attach the word ‘yet’ to the end of your doubt. Next time you feel discouraged about pursuing a big crazy goal, or conquering a seemingly impossible obstacle, remember the power of yet!

For example:

  • I can’t do this…yet.
  • I’m just not good at this…yet.

These statements declare “I believe in the power of yet”, rather than “I am stuck in the now”. It is time to break free from the now, and start embracing the yet!

For more on the power of yet, Carol Dweck and her excellent The Power of Yet TED talk are a great place to start!

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who struggles with failure and obstacles, this post could be just what they need!


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