Learn the Power of Yet

How many times do we tell ourselves “I’m so bad at X” or “I can’t do Y” or worse yet “I’ll never be able to achieve Z”? What if instead we were to say, “I am not good at this yet.” That is, what if we were to adopt a growth mindset?

According to researcher, Dr. Carol Dweck, we all perceive our skills, abilities, and intelligence through two mindsets: fixed and growth. Individuals who demonstrate a fixed mindset think their abilities are limited. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset understand that challenges allow them to develop their abilities and look at them as opportunities to learn.

In plain English, fixed mindsets perceive their abilities as unchanging whereas growth mindsets perceive their abilities as constantly developing. Here are other characteristics:

When experiencing setbacks, individuals with a growth mindset tell themselves “I haven’t mastered this yet” and persevere. Yet can be a powerful catalyst for personal development.

But, there’s more! You can use the power of yet to influence the mindset of others through how you give feedback in the form of criticism and praise. Take a look at these examples:


Ineffective: Criticizes the mistake or person without providing the information on how to avoid the error in the future. Emphasizes failure as unchanging and lacks information for how to learn from it. 

   “I thought you were smarter than this.”

Effective: Identifies the process, behavior, or strategy that was ineffective and offers an alternative for how to improve. Reinforces learning as a process, and failure is an opportunity for growth.

“It looks like you failed because of (mistake), maybe you should try (strategy) instead?”


Ineffective: Does not explain what exactly was done well or only praises talent or natural ability. Lacks information to know how to recreate success in the future and harder to persevere through challenges that threaten reinforced beliefs of talent or natural ability. 

 “Good job.” “Wow an A+; you must be a really good test taker!”

Effective: An extension of empty praise and process-focused by identifying the process, strategy, effort, or resources used to enable success. Reinforces learning as a process and clearly identifies the keys to mastery. 

 “Good job, great idea to utilize (strategy), it demonstrated (effort).”

As Dr. Dweck says “nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time, ” but we can certainly strive to get better at it every day.


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