The Power of “Not Yet”

charlift rides in the summer
Hanging out with my daughter in Deer Valley, UT.

My daughter shared a TED Talk with me yesterday about “The power of believing you can improve” by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. I’ve read Dweck’s book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” and am a fan.

In the seven-minute Ted Talk, Dweck explains the word “Yet.” At a high school in Chicago, if kids failed a class, instead of getting an “F” they got a grade of “Not Yet.” Instead of feeling like they were a failure and shutting down, they learned they could improve and they tried harder. Dweck explained, “Not yet opens up a path into the future that creates greater persistence.”

Dweck said people with growth mindsets are open to challenges, they learn from their mistakes and they can actually get smarter. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset are influenced by judgement of the moment. They are stuck in the tyranny of “now.” They tend to run from difficulties.

In studies, she offered tests that were above the children’s level of ability. The kids with a growth mindset were up to the challenge and excited, even when they did poorly. After failing the test, the fixed mindset kids said next time they would cheat or they looked for someone who did worse than they did.

My daughter thought I’d find this Ted Talk useful for writing a SwimSwam parenting tip. Dweck offered one gem to parents on how to raise kids with a growth mindset. She said to “Praise wisely.” Never compliment our children on their natural talent or intelligence. Instead, praise their effort, hard work, perseverance, etc. Don’t praise the outcome. Dweck called it “Process Praise.”

Every time our kids push out of their comfort zones to try something new and hard, the neurons in their brains form new and stronger connections. I think this is true for us older people, too. It’s important to stretch and do something new and challenging.

What have you done to push out of your routines and take on a new challenge? How did it make you feel afterwards?

8 thoughts on “The Power of “Not Yet”

  1. 💜 One of The Worst Insults to AnyOne is ‘Quitter’ EveryOne; here’s what I ‘Quit’ Comfortably by ‘Quitting’ My Comfort Zone:

    1 Parental Conditioning
    2 Educational Conditioning
    3 Employer Conditioning

    …there’s a Pattern here EveryOne; it’s Crystal Clear Clarity that I Shed My Conditioning and Followed My Passion, a Tough Gig and Well Worth It…


  2. Recently, taking on a new challenge can be as simple as challenging myself to explore the area and take different routes or trying a new exercise class at my gym, challenging myself to think differently about something which may be awkward for me to handle. How have you challenged yourself recently?

    • Yes, because I moved out of my home and town of 28 years, it’s forced on me. The biggest things I’ve done in the past five years are these two: I joined a swim team and entered a national meet. I was a swim mom, not a swimmer. Then a couple years ago I got invited to speak in public to a group — and I’m deathly afraid of that. I did it! Lately, it’s not so monumental, but like you said, finding new areas to explore in my area and thinking differently.

      • Moving in a pandemic was lonely! Fortunately we have a few friends here and a couple more are moving close by.

  3. Hmmm…personally…if something needs to change I work on it. However…I’m not great at pushing myself. When I figure out how, I’ll tell you

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