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