A few weeks ago, my fiance and I were having a heated discussion over dinner. Nerds that we are, we were arguing over what the absolute worst superpower would be. I decided that mine would be to disappear and reappear instantly, but only within the same dwelling. His choice was Super Hindsight (like Captain Hindsight on Southpark), where you know exactly what should have happened, but only after the choice has been made.
Sounds pretty awful, right? I’ll admit, Super Hindsight may not be my number one choice, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that there could be an advantage to always knowing what choice should have been made.
I recently read the book Mindset, the New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck. In the book, Dweck talks about how some people have what she calls a fixed mindset, or a belief that their traits are set, while others have a growth mindset, which means that they believe in their ability to grow and change. When faced with failure, people with the fixed mindset would take the failure personally, i.e. “I am a failure.” In contrast, the people with the growth mindset would consider failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.
We aren’t defined by our successes. We are defined by our mistakes. So often, we walk through life making the same mistakes over and over again without realizing we were wrong. Stopping to analyze our choices and using that knowledge to make better decisions in the future is one of the most challenging things that we as human beings can do. It takes courage, honestly, humility, and a lot of optimism.
The next time you find yourself saying, “I really should have made another choice,” give yourself a pat on the back. You are working on your hindsight, a skill that many people go their whole lives without using. Realize that what you are doing is very brave, and put your newly-found knowledge towards your future choices.
(Source: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck)