Where's your focus: Proving or Developing Yourself?

Do you focus on proving your abilities or developing them? There’s a big difference between proving and developing. One is all about striving, which will soon exhaust you. The other is based on growth, which is energizing. proveordevelop Take Charlotte, a college sophomore who is majoring in biology because she wanted to prove her ability to become a doctor. However, her striving caught up to her when she realized that although she may be capable of going into medicine, she lacked the passion for the field. Through Student Launch Pad, she learned how to approach her talents from a development mindset. Instead of proving her capabilities, she is now applying her talent for science to another area. Developing in the strengths she already has enables Charlotte to expand her skills and apply them in new ways, rather than sticking to the status quo as when she was trying to prove herself. This example is a representation of what Heidi Halvorson calls “focusing on getting better, rather than being good” in the 99U Maximize Your Potential book. She explains that a “Be Good Mindset” is about proving that you have abilities and know what you’re doing. You compare yourself to others to try to outperform them, and you believe your talents are stable. Ironically, worrying about your capabilities makes you more likely to fail and kills creativity. It’s also exhausting. Conversely, the “Get Better Mindset” focuses on developing your abilities and learning new skills. Rather than comparing yourself to others, you compare your own progress against how well you did yesterday, a month ago, or last year. You want to make sure your talents are developing over time and not stagnating. This mindset leads to creativity and is energizing. As you look at the ways you work or study every day, what is driving you? Is it the motivation to “be good” and prove your worth? Or is it a desire to “get better” and to learn, grow, and develop?

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