I came across this great TEDx talk the other day (thanks to inspiring Ritika) about how our mindset is key to achieving success. I’m not referring to the overly simplistic concept of The Secret (‘everything one wants or needs can be satisfied by believing in an outcome’), which with little substance achieved amazing popularity (my personal opinion here!). What Eduardo Briceno, the speaker, explains is the notion of fixed and growth mindsets and the fact that the way we understand our intelligence and abilities deeply impacts our success.
In a nutshell, Eduardo explains both mindsets as follows:
- The brain is the most active when it receives information on how it could do better next time. How can I learn?
- An effort is seen as a way to grow; it makes us smart
- Mistakes is part of growth; growth mindset people are perseverant
- Growth mindset comment: “You must have tried really hard” (focuses on the process)
- The brain is the most active when it receives information on performance. How am I judged?
- Loses interest when things get hard; avoid challenges
- Mistakes is losing; fixed mindset people withdraw to protect their ego
- Fixed mindset comment: “You must be smart at this” (focuses on fixed quality)
I’m sure we have all at some point in time decided to give up on something because ‘it was all too hard’, ‘we just weren’t built for that’, ‘it wasn’t our natural abilities’… These are all symptoms of fixed mindset which do not promote growth and personal leadership. It’s normal to once in a while cave in and let our fears, laziness or other excuses take over (we’re no super humans), but it’s important to reflect on the causes when this happens and not let them take over our entire lives.
Another great lesson I take from this talk is to remember that the words I choose when I speak to my family, friends and peers can inspire them to aim higher, try harder and develop themselves in the process. That’s very powerful.
Here’s the video if you would like to watch it (a well spent 10 minutes of your life):