Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck writes in her book, Mindset, that there are two ways to approach how people calculate their value. One is to have a "fixed mindset" with which we gauge our success by validating how competent and smart and talented we are while avoiding evidence that might undermine our image of ourselves. She points out that as long as we are indeed able to avoid or ignore that evidence we are able to keep our shaky stance as the person we somehow need to be. But that when we can't avoid that evidence, whether it's supplied by sources "out there" or by our own self-doubts "in here," then we suffer--needlessly.
The other option is to have a "growth mindset." This alternate measuring stick is based on the idea that our intelligence, success, worthiness, and abilities are fluid and growing all the time. So failure is seen as an opportunity instead of invalidating. The more we fall and rise again the more resilience we feel, the more our capabilities grow, and the more fulfillment we enjoy.
Many people struggle with perfectionism, the extreme end of the fixed mindset continuum. But, as we have discussed in group many times, "perfect" is the lowest standard there is, since it has no objective meaning that we can use. Jim Carrey, obviously understands this trap. As one of the highest-achieving actors working today, he seems to have come to grips with the impossible dream of basing our "good enoughness" on mere success in the world. In a hilarious speech he gave at the Golden Globe Awards, he puts his own brilliantly poignant spin on winning as a way to sleep at night. Click on his picture and see if his perspective strikes a chord.
And the next time you feel yourself getting down on yourself, think about trying on a different mindset. Will you let me know how it goes?