So, for most of my childhood, I use to look at all of these great people like Martin Luther King, Donald Trump, Steve Jobs and so and I use to think that these guys are born geniuses, and I am pretty sure that a lot of you think the same way. Some of you may look at these great people and because of your current situation you’ll probably say: “I’ll never be like these people. These guys are born geniuses”.
But we forget that we have already mastered the most difficult tasks of our lifetime, learning to walk and talk. If you look at babies, they never decide if it’s too hard or not worth the effort. They don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves, they walk, they fall, they get up again and they keep doing it until they get it right.
Some of us keep learning in that way but for most of us, once we grow a little and learn how to evaluate ourselves we start being AFRAID of challenges and we end up not being smart.
So, here are some ideas I got from Dr. Carol Dweck’s Book “Mindset: The New Psychology of success” that I really found helpful.
- Successful people learn. Unsuccessful people try to prove themselves
What most people try to do is that they always try to prove to others that they are right. I mean in every argument they get into, they must make sure that they are right even though they are not. When they start losing the argument, they have to justify themselves in anyway. I had this other friend who used to say “I’m right not because of what I say but because I’m older!” Now that’s the mind set of unsuccessful people.
But what a successful person is going to say is: “I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, I just need to keep learning. I mean I can learn from anyone and I can still be wrong. It doesn’t matter, I can still learn!”
- Successful people keep getting smarter. Unsuccessful people pretend to be smart.
This is one of my favourites. I remember during class when I was teaching. What used to happen to most of the learners I taught was that if they don’t understand something, they kept quiet because they did not want to look “dumb or stupid”. I mean, they had this kind of mentality that if they ask something, their classmates will know that they did not understand and therefore they are going to think they’re stupid. This may sound weird but this is what most people do, even adults.
But successful people don’t waste time pretending to be smart, they know that no one is born smart or genius and people get smarter by learning, so they most likely are going to ask if they don’t understand something.
- Successful people look for challenges to improve themselves. Unsuccessful people look for the weak to show off themselves.
So in a research study by Carol Dweck, they offered four-year-olds a choice: They could redo an easy puzzle or they could try a harder one.
Children who had a fixed mind set stuck with the safe one. They said things like “Kids who are born smart don’t make mistakes”. On the other hand, children who believed you could get smarter (children with a growth mind set) thought choosing to repeat the same puzzle was a strange choice. They said things like, why would anyone want to keep doing the same puzzle over and over again? So, they chose the harder one.
You might also be saying the same thing. Most of us have a fixed mind set. I mean, if we are comfortable to do something in a certain way we are going to stick with it for the rest of our lives. And if we ever try something new, the moment we start facing challenges, we start saying things like: “Oh no, that’s not for me.” We can’t even spend 20 minutes a day to read a book so that we stay mentally stable and then we ask for some kind of little trick on how to be successful.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a growth mind set or fixed mind set? Let me know in the comments below.