How to Aim High
We’re less afraid of living big than we are of failing big. “Our culture has increasingly adopted a zero-tolerance policy for error,” says Schwartz. “But the way you develop good judgment is by using it.” And by recalibrating your relationship with failure. For decades, psychologist Carol Dweck of Stanford University has conducted studies on theories about achievement and success and believes that most of us have either a “learning orientation” or a “performance orientation.” Those oriented toward learning see mistakes as challenges: If you swing and miss, you get up again and swing harder the next time. To those with a performance orientation, it’s more important to get things right than to advance to a new level: Swing, miss, drop the bat, and go back to doing something that you’re already good at.
If you’re performance-oriented, remind yourself that the most lasting and rewarding kind of competence is the kind that you earn. Remember a time when you were completely green: the first day of your first job or the first time that you held a baby. Were you scared? Would you go on to fail sometimes? Are you better now than you ever could have imagined at that fresh, raw moment? Yes, yes, and yes.