Some people seem to be born with certain exceptional skills, but as time goes by they fade away and sometimes totally disappear. Others seem to struggle immensely at first but after a while their ability develops.
These two groups of people are divided into two mindsets: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. Growth-minded people believe in effort. When they fail, they try over and over again until they get what they want and believe in.
They don’t let failures define them. Fixed-minded individuals, on the other hand, tend to rely too heavily on natural talent, and get emotionally beaten up after their talent fails them. Unlike the growth-minded, the fixed-minded believe that effort is only for the weak.
In sports, the author raises the examples of various athletes, from those who went from underdogs to world champions (Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali) to the “naturals” whose talent went downhill due to a false sense of failure (Billy Beane).
For growth-minded athletes, success is about learning and improving. To maintain success, it’s important to take control of our motivations, which means finding a motivation and learning to love it, so that practice is always fun.
Sports and business are a lot alike in terms of mindset. They both require a team player, not a star. Running a company with a desire for personal reputation will eventually fail the individual as well as the whole company.
As mentioned, fixed-minded people do not believe in effort. In relationships, the concept of “relationships need work” is foreign to them, so they give up. They tend to take rejection personally; one rejection can lead to negative self-labelling and relationship trauma.
When parents and teachers praise talent instead of effort, they give out the wrong message, telling kids they’re good the way they currently are and that there’s no need to strive for more. The messages that you send to children are vital, so send them wisely. Set high standards for all students, and do not ignore the less talented ones. Teach kids to love learning and take it easy on them.
I’ve recently taken an interest in the topic of addiction, and came upon an insightful remark in an article on the Substance For You site about mindset and addiction. It pointed out that “labels and stigmas set up youth and young adults for a higher chance of addiction, and give those who are stuck in active addiction a lower chance of recovery or betterment.”