Bet on those willing to go backward to go forward, not those who insist on only going forward to go forward

After a few times of teaching preparation programs, I noticed a marked difference between students based on their attachment to progress. Forward only students were students who insisted that with each session they should feel they are moving forward. Forward neutral students were students who didn't have this expectation and generally understood that sometimes you'll feel like you're going backward. They didn't like it, but they accepted it as part of the process.

When it came time to perform, forward only students were extremely confident and shot out of the gate while forward neutral students were well, neutral, or in some cases moderately negative. But as results started trickling in, confidence levels for forward only students started to plummet. Some of them landed, but the majority broke at the first sign of going backward, having never really learned to deal with it before. Forward neutral students started out slow, hit a few roadblocks, adjusted accordingly, and proceeded to continue until they landed.

Overall, the results for forward neutral students were significantly more consistent than forward only ones. Forward neutral students had learned how to be resilient in exchange for the feeling of seemingly perpetual confidence and progress. Forward only students had taken the opposite trade.