Did I ever tell you about my year 10 English teacher? We had just started working towards our GCSEs. I had always had a love for writing, and I couldn’t wait to show it off a little in our upcoming assignments. After one assessment (which she graded as a B) she told me that I wasn’t any good. That I probably wouldn’t become a writer, like I wanted at the time, and that there were plenty of people in the class that were better writers than me. After going through moderation, that piece got an A. I also ended up getting an A overall in my English GCSE, because her trying to put me down only inspired me even more.
Similarly, in the second year of my A Levels (year 13), my teacher told me that it was impossible for me to achieve an A* and that, based on last year’s results, it was unlikely that I would get an A overall (the grade I really wanted). This, again, only motivated me even more and I went on to achieve an A* in my English Language A Level (impossible my ass).
But, you may remember that in November last year, I was really upset. I’d just received a feedback mark on my first assignment of Second Year at University and I was incredibly disappointed. Second Year was a big step up, and I really was working my ass off, but it just hadn’t paid off in this particular assignment, and it really knocked my confidence and made me feel deflated.
And, to be honest, for the first time in my life, I had the complete wrong mindset about it. I saw it as a defeat, and I let it get me down.
And, everyone told me to use it as motivation, but I couldn’t see how to at the time. All of the past experiences that I’d had of proving people that they were wrong about me seemed so far away, and I didn’t think it was humanely possible for me to work any harder.
And the saying is true; you don’t always have to work harder, sometimes you have to work smarter.
I eventually started listening to what everyone around me was telling me and accepted that it was not a defeat; but rather it was a little hiccup. Yeah, it wasn’t the grade that I wanted, but it also wasn’t a bad grade, I mean, I still passed.
And the feedback given was actually really helpful. I applied it to my essays in my other modules, and found that it actually helped me a lot.
So, I’ve decided to apply this new-found philosophy to my life in general. I know that the examples in this post are specific examples that are mainly related to grades and education; but I think this mindset can be applicable to much more than just school and grades.
Why can’t we see bad experiences as little hiccups? They don’t mean that we have to give up, or that something is not for us. In fact, these things should be a little motivational reminder of how much the end goal actually means to us!
This mindset has definitely given me the little refresh that I desperately needed; think of it as a spring clean for the mind.