Week Twenty Six: The Halfway Point*

Instead, as you begin to understand the fixed and growth mindsets, you will see exactly how one things leads to another – how a belief that your qualities are carved in stone leads to a host of thoughts and actions and how a belief that your qualities can be cultivated leads to a host of different thoughts and actions, taking you down an entirely different road.

The book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

The memory: 

“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset – creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character – well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them…There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way – in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments-everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Smile at the World

I’ve always loved improv comedy. I mean, loved it, and while I’d dabbled in it prior, the little voice of judgment in my head always held me back to really falling into it. Being in NY, I knew I had to take at least 1 class – and I had even written it down as a New Year’s Resolution. I finally swallowed that fear, signed up for a class, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done, because, really, I’ve just scheduled 3 hours of weekly laughter into my calendar. And who doesn’t need that?

It’s always been one of my favorite art forms because the lessons it teaches you is so, so applicable to every other aspect of life. Improvisation cultivates the growth mindset.

Improv Comedy teaches you to:

  • Listen: I mean, really listen. To your partner, to the scene, to the group. That’s the first and foremost groundwork to moving any scene (or life) forward. Listen.
  • Agree, and Add something: Contribute. Lay on another brick to the foundation you’re all building together. Everyone is part of the moment, and everyone contributes in a positive manner.
  • Know that it’s there…and then it’s gone: This scene has never happened before, and it’ll never happen again – and so the moment is truly unique and special.
  • And thus, Be present: Knowing that the moment is singular, it forces you to quiet everything else in your mind and be present. Vigilant. Focused. There’s no time to analyze or over-analyze. There’s just time to be.
  • No judgment: Anything goes, anything can happen. The crazier it is, the more you push forward.
  • Support each other: There’s no individual; it is about the group. When the group succeeds, you succeed. You’re there to support your partner and make his/she look good, not the other way around.
  • Follow the fear: It seems like the simplest thing in the world, but the scariest and most difficult at all once. You just have to gulp and jump right in.
  • Be yourself: Somehow, in this space, it’s the safest place to be. No judgment and all support. All you have to do is bring yourself – not scripted characters nor not rehearsed lines. No falsities here.

I’m taking these lessons and I’m following the fear. You should, too! Let’s improv life together. =)



*Officially half-way finished with the blog project! Single person party!

End, Memory Twenty Six.

Next Week: Rabbit, Run by John Updike


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