What I Learned from Step Aerobics a Couple Decades Ago

Truth moment.....I only recently learned about "Growth Mindset."  Have you heard of this?  Apparently this is something being taught to educators to foster a shift in thinking in students.  If it was around when I was in school, I missed it.  I believe I have had a "Fixed Mindset" more often than growth.  Here's a quick lesson:  a fixed mindset means you either have it or you don't.  If you don't have the smarts or skills naturally, it's kinda tough.  So when you come across something you can't do, you give up because you really don't think you'll get better at it.  Growth mindset, on the other hand, means when you come across something you can't do, your response is more positive.....maybe even excited because it is an opportunity to learn more or improve or grow. I am working to embrace more of a growth mindset, as my mindset tended toward being fixed.  A very recent example of my fixed mindset is playing video games with my husband and daughter.  I believed I just wasn't good at playing video games....everyone else is just better than me.  I was playing but I was really also accepting my fate of being the worst video game player.  My son overheard me and said, "Mama, growth mindset."  That was the nudge I needed to stop being so defeatist around playing video games. It's, of course, not too late to adjust to the growth mindset if we tend toward fixed.  If you find yourself frustrated with something and believing you just can't do something, take a break and give yourself a chance for your brain to "catch up."  That's the segue to my 20 year flashback story. Remember step aerobics?  Maybe they are still around, I am not sure.  But a couple decades ago, I was in a college PE class in the summer.  It was a fairly self-led class that I could do whatever exploration of fitness classes and log my time and journal my thoughts.  One of the classes I had access to was a step aerobics class.  I thought that would be fun.  It was not a class of college students but of community members meeting a couple days a week.  I would be attending a class of "experienced" steppers.  On the first day, I began. The teacher was warming up with the stepping.  I was tracking alright here.  But then after the warm up, it got more complicated.  Some of the steps took coordination.  I would mess up and keep messing up and struggling.  I remember feeling like I just wanted this to be over, so I could get out and never come back.  I even teared up a bit. Kudos to that instructor because she came over and encouraged me to come back.  She said, "Sometimes your brain needs a break to catch up, keep trying and you'll get it."  THIS was a belief in growth mindset.  And....it was the encouragement I needed.  I came back to the class and my brain did catch up.  I was doing the different steps just fine.  I even remember wanting the challenge of a new step that I wouldn't get right away and my brain would need to "catch up."  It was more exciting for me.  Growth mindset. I'll be going back to playing the video games with my family and will be looking forward to a struggle and allow my brain to catch up.  I wonder where else I can look for these little challenges :)