"Wanting is power". Do you believe this statement? Find out how mentality and success are linked together according to American psychologist Carol S. Dweck.
Last update: Augusts 26, 2020
If we asked you what a person's success depends on, what would you answer? You could say it is a matter of talent, intelligence or education. Perhaps, for some, the best place to start is to have good opportunities. Overall, having the right mindset or mindset seems to be the key.
It seems naïve to think that "wanting is power," but Carol S. Dweck, a researcher and developmental psychologist, seems to have clear ideas about it. In her book Mindset. Changing mindsets to achieve success, the American psychologist argues that beliefs can strongly influence our performance. Let's see what this best seller offers us.
What is the right mindset to be successful?
The mentality, or mindset, is the set of beliefs we have about the way the world works and ourselves. Based on it, we regulate our behavior. What we take for granted therefore leads us to act in one way or another, and this ultimately determines our results.
Dweck came to this conclusion after observing a group of four-year-olds faced with the following dilemma: Solving a simple puzzle or trying to complete a more difficult one? It was possible to divide the children into two groups: those who chose the easy task and those who accepted the challenge. But why?
In reality, the distinction between the two groups of children had nothing to do with their abilities, but rather with their mentality, their basic beliefs. The psychologist has thus identified two concepts that largely determine our development and our success: the fixed mentality and the growth mentality.
Fixed-minded people are those who think, consciously or not, that intelligence is unchangeable. That each of us is born with a certain degree of intelligence, with a wealth of talents or qualities that are stable and impossible to modify. Based on this premise, they maintain a precise behavior:
- They tend to show good self-esteem in an effort to appear smart and adept.
- They avoid challenges at all costs, as failure would mean lack of capacity.
- They are on the defensive in the presence of an obstacle and easily abandon tasks that pose a challenge.
- They are convinced that effort is useless and that failure is unacceptable. They pursue infallibility.
- They feel threatened both by the success of others and by criticism.
Those with a growth mentality, on the other hand, believe that skills and talents can be developed with work and commitment. He understands that each of us has an initial baggage, but what really matters is how we use it. They therefore exhibit the following behaviors and attitudes.
- They are eager to learn and grow.
- They accept challenges and use them, as they see them as an opportunity for improvement.
- They see failure as part of the journey; they do not give up in the face of obstacles and persevere.
- They do not see effort as a lack of skills, but as a road to excellence.
- They learn from constructive criticism and are inspired by the success of others.
To develop our full potential
The attitudes associated with the two different mentalities condition the type of development that each of us is able to achieve. Those who belong to the first group (that is, those who trust innate gifts) could grow quickly and then get stuck. On the contrary, according to Carol Dweck's thesis, the people who belong to the second group (those who make more use of commitment and perseverance) continue to grow until it reaches its full potential.
This would not only manifest itself in the scholastic field, but also in the professional career, in social relationships and in any area of life. Those with a growth mindset overcome obstacles, learn from mistakes and correct the shot, grow and develop a better version of themselves.
The fixed mindset leads to stabilization once a certain level is reached; a level that will never be surpassed for fear of failure, for the paralysis that one feels in the face of the challenge, for the limit constituted by thinking that we are what we are and that's it.
It remains to be said that although the type of mentality is part of the personality, it is in our power to change it. How? We stop esteeming ourselves or measuring our worth through innate qualities and we begin to appreciate our commitment, our ability to stand up and persevere. Sometimes failing allows us to reach our maximum potential.