Don't give up - a yet attitude and growth mindset

Don’t give up – Yet!

Discussions of the importance of having a ‘yet’ attitude or a growth mindset abound, including on this blog. I am very much in favour of the ‘yet’ thinking, as proposed by Carol Dweck.

Basically, it means that we don’t consider our ability to learn as finite. We believe our potential to be constantly expanding. We may not know or be able to do something ‘yet’, but we can work at it and with each attempt come closer to achieving it.

The resolve to maintain a growth mindset can be challenged at times when the going gets tough and there is no obvious solution. It can be difficult knowing when enough is enough and it’s time to move on; or if success is hiding just around the corner or on a slight detour.

I often debate with myself about how to interpret the truth in the messages the universe seems to be sending, weighing up giving up against exerting just a little more persistence and patience. Consequently, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the unplanned theme in my response to the flash fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch this week.

charli mill's flash fiction challenge - colonnades

Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes colonnades. It can be natural, architectural, or a metaphor. Take a stroll and go where the prompt leads.

What could colonnades possibly have to do with a growth mindset you might think, as would I. But when I sat at the keyboard, without a clue of what to write, this is what developed. I hope you like it.

Never Give Up

The solid grey wall stretched without end, both left and right —impenetrable, no way around, no way through. Perhaps a way over? Even from that distance, it appeared unscaleable.

He removed his backpack and rested his head upon it as he lay, gazing upward. He sighed heavily. He’d trekked so far believing this was the way. How could he have been so wrong?

He closed his eyes and drifted into a deep sleep. Refreshed, upon awakening, he decided to continue rather than retreat.

As he drew closer, the wall separated into columns spaced perfectly to allow an easy passage.

Do you see what I saw emerge? A story about not giving up? Of the importance of adjusting focus when it seems a dead end is reached, when there’s nowhere else to go and nothing else to try? Or is the theme significant to only me as I try to find a way through the colonnades in my path?

As I was writing this story, I was reminded of one I wrote for children using the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty as a stimulus. In a similar way to Charli’s prompts, I was prompting children to think about possible reasons for Humpty Dumpty to be sitting on a wall and causes for him to fall.

The accident - an innovation on the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty

Of course, I couldn’t do the prompting without writing a story of my own: The Accident – Humpty Dumpty’s Fall.

In the story, ‘Humpty looked at the wall. He couldn’t see through it. He couldn’t see over it. And there was no way around it.’ He thought it was ‘no use’. Fortunately, his friend Pomble wasn’t one to give up quite so easily and found a way for them to see over the wall. It was what occurred when Humpty was looking over the wall that caused him to fall. I won’t tell you what happened but, unlike the nursery rhyme, my story has a happy ending.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

55 thoughts on “Don’t give up – Yet!

  1. Christy B

    So motivating, Norah! The “not yet” makes sense because then a person still has hope for what they can achieve in the future. Plus, your flash is great. And as for your comment on my post about having more exciting things to do than stop by here, my answer is: NOPE!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post, Christy. You’ve made my day. I really think planning a wedding would be more exciting! 🙂 Thank you for a smile, a big one!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
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  3. Charli Mills

    You introduced me to Carol’s idea of “yet” and I fully embraced the growth mindset thanks to you. It has had a profound impact on me when I face those gray walls of doubt. I appreciate how you pushed into the story and make a discovery that resonates with many. Ah– I never thought about why Humpty Dumpty was on that wall in the first place!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Well now, I’d like to know why you think H. D. was on the wall. I can think of a very topical reason. But, who knows?
      I do like all the slightly different ways readers have interpreted my flash. It’s very affirming.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Charli Mills

        This would make a fun prompt! I think H.D. was a spy against the King, and his fall a ruse to distract his horses and men. Perhaps, metaphorically, H.D. was a dreamer, and vulnerable to falls from great heights.

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Norah Post author

          Next year’s rodeo? 🙂
          Those are both fun responses to the question. While there is a suppos-ed meaning to the rhyme, it’s not one I share with children. I think the rhyme is wonderful for getting them to use their imaginations – and to think behind the text. We need to learn to question the hidden meanings and not always take what we are presented with as telling the whole story. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Oh how I agree with you. I think we also need permission to ‘give up’ when we’ve given it our best shot without feeling we’ve somehow failed ourselves, that we didn’t give enough, or weren’t enough.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. pedometergeek

    The only mental picture I got from the prompt was those steel girders being erected on the southern border, and I really didn’t want to jump into anything political, but your fiction addressed it well without ever making it political. Well done, Norah. I really liked this. ~nan

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. Jules

    I am always amazed at when I read about folks over 80 going back to school and getting degrees or becoming fluent in another language. I remember reading about an older gent to chose to learn Japanese. When we continue to learn I think we keep our minds young. Yet another reason to appreciate Literary Art!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Those octogenarians are amazing, aren’t they? I don’t know about going back to school but I definitely want to keep learning until the day I die. Maybe I’ll get something right by the time I reach the end. I’m not there yet! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  6. Jennie

    Well done, Norah! A favorite song in my classroom is, “It’s the Power of Yet” performed on Sesame Street. We sing this when children are struggling to do something. The catchy tune reinforces their power to keep trying.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
      1. Jennie

        I went to Google and typed in The Power of Yet, and it came right up with the singer, Janelle Monae, singing to one of the Sesame Street characters. Is that what came up for you? It’s very catchy, the kind of song that sticks in your head.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          It did come up for me eventually, Jennie. I’ve been experiencing internet issues the past few days, which was the problem with loading, and now I’m miles behind in reading and commenting. Oh well, that’s not unusual. Yes, the song is delightful. Thank you. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  7. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    The amazing workings of the unconscious mind! Isn’t it lovely when our own fiction can surprise us?
    I’ve enjoyed your previous posts on the growth mindset and it seems particularly pertinent to education. But I am uncomfortable with the assumption that there’s always a way through. And of course taken to the extreme anyone can see the illogic: people die before their time, awful things happen!
    While my post today doesn’t mention “not yet”, I’m musing on similar themes regarding the way forward. I’m not giving up and I hope you won’t either but “I’ve given it my best shot and I’m not wasting any more energy” is an admirable mindset too.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I share your discomfort with the assumption that there’s always a way through, that things happen for a reason, or that they always work out for the best. It hasn’t been so in my experience. It’s a tough statement to live up to as it means if they don’t work out, we haven’t tried hard enough or the gods aren’t smiling on us for whatever reason.
      I like your mindset that “I’ve given it my best shot and I’m not wasting any more energy”. It’s just knowing when to ‘hold ’em and when to fold ’em’ that’s the difficult thing. 🙂
      I’ll be over to read your post as soon as I can. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  8. TanGental

    I remember the ‘yet’ concept from a while back on your blog and loved it then. the moral of your flash is perfectly pitched too.And I’m with Edison about failure being 10000 ways where its doesn’t yet work. Keep trying and keep looking for ways round rather than road blocks

    Liked by 3 people

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  9. thecontentedcrafter

    Great stuff Norah! For all of us it is a fact of life that learning, practising and patience will always get us from I can’t to I can…. and that is embodied in the ‘yet’ philosophy. And one of the lessons I’ve learned – often the hard way – is that even when I think I’ve failed, I find I’ve stepped onto a path that carries me somewhere else. Usually a place I didn’t know I wanted to be in until I got there 🙂 The wall, as you point out so well in your flash, is just an illusion.

    Liked by 3 people

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