If I were to ask you what determines success, what would your answer be? Perhaps you would say it depends on one’s talent, intelligence or education. You may think that access to good opportunities is the key. But beyond all that, evidence suggests that your mindset is key.
It sounds naive to say things like “if you believe in yourself , you can achieve anything. “We know that people’s circumstances and resources play a role. Yet Carol S. Dweck, a researcher with a PhD in developmental psychology, came to this conclusion.
In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success , she explores how beliefs powerfully influence your performance. So in today’s article, we’ll take a look at the main arguments of this best-selling book.
How does your mindset affect your success?
Mentality is a set of beliefs you have about yourself and how the world works. In general, your way of thinking is the foundation of your behavior. So what you believe to be true leads you to act in some way, which ultimately determines what happens in your life.
Dweck came to this conclusion after observing the reactions of four-year-old children as they were given a challenge. Researchers gave the children the choice of making a simple puzzle or trying to make a more difficult puzzle.
Some children opted for the easy puzzle, others took up the challenge. Why? What determined how they made their decision?
Ultimately, the difference was not in their abilities, but in their mindset and basic beliefs. That is why Dweck identified two concepts that determine the development and success of people: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
The fixed mentality
People with a fixed or fixed mentality believe, consciously or unconsciously, that intelligence is immutable. They believe that you are born with a certain amount of intellect and that your talents and qualities are stable and impossible to change. This mentality leads to very specific behavior:
- Constantly trying to prove themselves, they seem intelligent and capable.
- Avoid challenges at all costs, because failure would mean they are not proficient.
- Becoming defensive when obstacles appear and quickly giving up on challenging tasks.
- Believing that making the effort is essentially meaningless and that failure is unacceptable.
- They are perfectionists.
- They find the success of others and constructive criticism threatening.
The growth mentality
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe that with hard work and effort you can develop your talents and abilities. While they understand that everyone has to start somewhere, they believe what really matters is what you do with what you have. This mindset leads to the following behaviors:
- Feeling excited about learning, growing and broadening their horizons.
- Take on challenges and grow with them. They see obstacles as growth opportunities.
- Seeing failure as part of the journey. Far from letting obstacles get in the way, they persevere.
- Seeing effort as the only path to mastery rather than showing a lack of ability.
- Learn from constructive criticism and be inspired by the success of others.
Reach your maximum potential
It is clear that your way of thinking, and the attitude that comes from it, determines what you can achieve. People with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities are innate and unchanging, meaning they do not strive for improvement.
On the other hand, according to Dweck’s theory, people with a growth mindset that focus on effort and perseverance will continue to grow until they reach their potential.
If you have a growth mindset, you take on challenges, learn from your mistakes and change your life. You are able to expand and reach your potential. On the other hand, a fixed mindset makes you set yourself up on a certain level. You will never make progress because you are afraid of failure.
Fortunately, you have the power to decide what kind of mindset you want to have. Stop praising yourself for your solid qualities and personality. Instead, congratulate yourself on your efforts, resilience, and perseverance. After all, sometimes failure is the first step towards reaching your maximum potential.