Learning Objective #6 Mindset self-study

Common Exhibit

Inner Critic

Playing tennis with my dad during parent's weekend was when I really felt my inner critic getting to me. I have never won a match against him, but usually our sets are relatively close one way or the other. Having been practicing on the club team and feeling myself improve day by day, I thought that this was the time to finally take my first win and show him how much I had improved over the months. I lost to him without taking a single game in two sets. I was pretty discouraged and frustrated and played worse than I had in a while over the next week at club practice and even thought about giving up tennis for good.

After losing my match with my dad I felt that the gap I thought I had been closing through hard work was as big as ever and that I may never be as good as I wanted to be. This was my inner critic talking to me.

Inner defender

I was driving home from Wallmart in a rush to get home because I had accounting due at 9:00 PM. When I saw the police lights in my rear view mirror, my inner defender immediately came to life in my head. "Im so unlucky" and "I cant believe he's pulling me over for going 5 over the speed limit." were the two excuses that popped into my head first. I then thought of this exhibit and realized that this was just my inner defender making excuses for me. I accepted that this could have been avoided if I had planned ahead and not gone to Wall-mart on a day that still had homework to do.

I realized that I didn't have an immediate need for a lot of the items i purchased, and if I had had a more solid plan for my week I could have avoided this situation altogether instead of blaming it on bad luck or on the cop being in a bad mood.

Inner guide

My inner guide appeared in the most unlikely situations. It was when I was the most shocked and disappointed in myself that I didn't try to make excuses and I didn't get too down on myself. I received a 68 on my first MATH 1080 exam which I thought I was prepared for. Even walking out of the testing room i thought that there was no way i got lower than an 80 on that, even in the worst cast scenario.

My inner guide immediately took over as I reminded myself not to get too down because this is a class that drops the lowest test grade. Although it is unfortunate that I will likely need to use that drop on the very first test, it just means that I will have to work much harder to do better on the rest of the tests. I thought about how this could possibly be a blessing in disguise because I felt much more motivated to do well on each test now that the "safety net" of a dropped test score was essentially removed.



I think that becoming aware of my mindsets was one of the most important thing I learned how to do in any of my classes this semester. Sometimes you are your own worst critic, and if you know what your critics have to say about you then you can work on proving them wrong. I like to prove my inner critic wrong by turning things around and showing him that I am not a quitter, and that I am willing to put in the work to a bad situation i may find myself in. I like to prove my inner defender wrong by using planning tools that I have learned to prove that I can avoid problematic situations with proper planning and work. Proving that I have an influence in everything that happens to me (good and bad) is something that's very important to me. Getting over my inner critic that told me I will never fulfill my potential as a tennis player was very hard and took some time. After a short break from the game I began to miss playing and realized that the reason I love tennis is because it is fun to play. My friend and I went to the courts to hit the ball around and shoot the breeze. No sets, just fun. I felt myself getting back into form and had a renewed confidence as I had no pressure on me. I think that the reason I played poorly was because I put way too much pressure on myself to win that I got into my own head. Healthy competition is good but that shouldn't be all that father-son time is about. Next time I play I will remind myself that I am a great player and just need to relax and have fun. I think that this example applies to a lot more than just tennis in my life. I believe that I can benefit from lightening up and being more sociable instead of burying my head and getting tunnel vision on what i believe to be "most important in my life" at the time.

Self-designed exhibit

Identifying my mindset

For this exhibit I decided to see how I have progressed with my general mindset as the semester is coming to a close. To do this I used a handout from class that was meant to give examples of fixed vs. growth mindsets. For each example, I identified which mindset I usually used while covering up which option was growth and which was fixed so that I could not be influenced by the answers.

This is the handout from class that I used. I highlighted which response I identified with after I was finished and counted up the amount of responses for each category. There were four for fixed and seven for growth.
The one that stuck out as unique was the prompt about bad grades. I have always known that it means I must work hard and that is a growth mindset, but through this I realized that I should be working hard to ensure that i avoid bad grades in the first place.


Seeing that I had more answers in the growth mindset section showed me that I have made a lot of progress, but it also showed me that I still have a long way to go. I realized that I still have a reluctance to ask for help even when I know that I need it. I think that moving away from some of the cynical mindsets that I have carried with me since I was very young will be crucial for me to be successful in my future here at Clemson. This means redefining intelligence and accepting that it is okay to fail sometimes even when I have worked hard. What is important is trying my best and trying to break through the limits that I have made for myself no matter what.


Created with images by smykcur - "peace of mind hat streetwear" • Banalities - "Mind the Gap" • eddie.welker - "Groceries" • DirtyOpi - "mirroring ball reflection" • bitesizeinspiration - "130424 Image of Positive Mindset Affirmations on Making a Difference" • Brandon Morse - "work"

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