The Biggest Difference in Mental Aptitude...

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Edition 96 - May 3, 2020


“Are mindsets a permanent part of your makeup or can you change them?” A question posed by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and author of the book Mindset.

Dweck believed that there are two kinds of mindsets.

The first mindset is called the Fixed Mindset. This is the mindset that a person’s potential is fixed. Where physical differences, size and shape of the skull or genes will ultimately determine one’s success. This is the idea that intelligence and capabilities are generally fixed. People with the fixed mindset tend avoid things that are challenging where doing new things might make themselves look stupid if they fail. The belief that potential is fixed causes people with the fixed mindset to be afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone because there is a possibility of failure.

The second mindset is called the Growth Mindset. This is the mindset that a person’s potential is not fixed, but is determined by strong differences in people’s experiences, training, or ways of learning. It is the mindset that intelligence and capabilities can be determined by a person’s effort. People with the growth mindset embrace failures and is excited about new challenges because it’s an opportunity to learn and get better. They believe that potential is determined by the effort they put in and they can increase that potential with the amount of effort they put.

A surprising champion of the Growth Mind set was Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test. Surprisingly, the IQ test wasn’t meant to summarize children’s unchangeable intelligence. In fact, it was designed to identify children who were not profiting from the current public school programs so that new educational programs could be developed to get them back on track.

Dweck studied these two mindsets extensively and revealed that the difference between a person’s mindset can make a big difference in one’s success in school, business and relationships.

When the growth mindset was implemented into struggling programs in areas like Harlem and South Bronx, the children who couldn’t pick up a pencil in the beginning turned into high achievers. The programs went from being one of the worst to one of the best in the area.

Michael Jordan was another person who benefited from having a growth mindset. Jordan, considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time, once was cut from his high school varsity team. If Jordan believed that talent was fixed and no amount of effort would help him get better, he would not be one of the greatest sports icons we know today known for his fierce competitiveness and relentless work ethic.

It is incredible the impact a certain mindset can have on a person. Sure some people can have certain aptitudes towards certain things, but in order to offer the best chance at finding and developing those aptitudes, one must adopt the growth mindset.

“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures. I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners” said Benjamin Barber.

In my opinion, I think there is a choice when it comes to mindset. Which choice will you make?

-Michael Ye