Believe to Achieve

That’s is an admittedly corny title for an interesting lesson on achievement. Carol Dweck is a psychology professor at Stanford University. She says that there are two views of your own intelligence. The first view is called the “entity theory” or the “fixed mindset.” This view is that our brains have a finite amount of intelligence that we are born with and that cannot increase beyond our genetic makeup. Kind of like height. We can’t change how tall we are.

 The other theory is called the “incremental theory” or the “growth mindset.” This view holds that intelligence is something we can increase with effort. Want to build muscle? Lift weights.

Daniel Pink, in his wonderful book Drive, writes that in a fixed mindset, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in a growth mindset it is something you develop.

The rub is the path these two separate theories require. A fixed mindset forces a person to only attempt things which that person believes he will be able to achieve. If you have to work hard at something you must not be very good at it. The growth mindset frees you from these strictures. This growth mindset allows people to recognize that setbacks are learning opportunities and guideposts for increasing one’s intelligence.

Do you need to change your mindset?


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