Why Brains & Talent Don’t Mean Success

How Your Mindset About Your Intelligence & Talents May Be Holding You Back

Institutional Or Personal Happiness YOU Choose

People with a fixed mindset believe their traits or basic qualities such as intelligence or talent are fixed i.e. not changeable.

Instead of developing their intelligence or talent they simply document them.

Whereas, people with a growth mindset believe that through hard work and perseverance their basic qualities and traits can be developed.

They believe talent is merely the starting point and through learning and perseverance, success can be accomplished.

Almost all successful people have this underlying belief or mindset.

Adopting a growth mindset creates the inner motivation and productivity that enables growth in all areas of personal development, including business, education, sports and even relationships.

The central message in Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is that the view you adopt of yourself can and does profoundly affect the way you lead and live your life.

Her research along with others has shown that a very simple belief about ourselves is the guiding light which permeates almost every part of our lives.

That belief is whether you have adopted a fixed or a growth mindset.

The difference either limits your potential or enables your success and often is the difference between achieving excellence or mediocrity.

It has a direct bearing on our self esteem which in turn affects our creativity and ability to face challenges and overcome setbacks.

Most of what we are and how we behave comes from our mindset.

Your mindset about your qualities and characteristics and more importantly whether these can be changed.

Although these two mindsets – fixed and growth, represent the extremes of both opposites and most people have a mix, there is no doubt that having a fixed mindset seriously hampers your willingness to strive for better things.

Believing your traits are fixed, basically stops you from developing.

Having a growth mindset on the other hand allows you to persevere and cultivate new qualities, talents, aptitude’s, interests and temperaments.

That you can grow through application and experience.

Most people are more fixed in some areas and more growth orientated in others.

But which ever mindset you have regarding some aspect of yourself this will guide you in this area.

If your fixed you will avoid and reject criticism whereas if you have a growth mindset you will welcome criticism to learn and improve.

Basically you will stick at it no matter what the setbacks are.

Alternatively you will believe that you should give up as it is not worth the effort.

We all face challenges, the difference is in how you interpret and respond to adverse circumstances.

Although this may seem a small belief it leads to big differences in our lives and can have massive impact in the results we obtain in life.

Having a fixed mindset stands in the way of development and change whereas adopting a growth mindset means making more effort to obtain valuable results.

Making yourself aware of your mindset regarding some aspect of yourself is key to changing it.

Knowing your self is half the battle.

Most people think that they are born with a set amount of intelligence and talents.

It is taught by our parents, by our teachers and reinforced subtly in our media.

According to Carol Deck while this may be true to a certain extent it is not the whole story.

It fails to recognise the exceptional hard work that successful people do to fully realise their potential.

How they strive to be the best by BUILDING on their supposed limitations.

While praising someone, especially kids regarding their intelligence and talents can be the starting point for them developing the self esteem and motivation to achieve more, it can also backfire and make them document their abilities rather than developing them.

Teaching such a ‘fixed mindset’ can in fact be counter productive to achieving success.

Brains and talent don’t by themselves bring about success. It also takes a lot of hard work.

In praising them at an early age parents may in fact foster low self esteem and lower accomplishments because they fail to do the work necessary for true success.

Instead according to Dweck there is one ground breaking idea that if taught to kids can make them more productive and raise their standards all around.

That is a ‘growth mindset’.

Stanford University psychologist studies showed that a ‘growth mindset’ could in fact make a big impact on how people approached life.

Instead of believing they ‘naturally’ should achieve success they realised they needed to work extremely hard to achieve it.

More importantly they developed an ethos that nothing was set in concrete and everything was up to them.

Although this sounds like a simple concept it’s effect can be profound.

Because when you don’t feel you have limits, you are set free from the false shackles that sometimes bind you.

Free to develop instead of document your intelligence and talents.

This engenders a massive self esteem boost and leads to much more productivity not only in school but at work and in life in general.

Great business leaders, parents, teachers and athletes utilize this outlook to fundamentally alter their paradigm.

Although this is a simple idea it has far reaching consequences for those that adopt it.

Basic qualities are no longer fixed traits.

Talent is no longer a prerequisite to success.

This simple idea can be the difference that make the difference.


Instead brains and talent are just the starting point that dedication and hard work can hone to achieve true success.

Adopting this view creates the resilience essential for great accomplishment.

People develop a love of learning and a love of striving to BE the best.

All ‘great’ people have this mindset.

Of that there is perhaps no doubt.

But what is termed a great mindset is often a tortured one.

For many years Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck findings have been heralded as something of a revelation.

That is, that people should be open to improving their life through hard work and study.

And not be stuck with the idea that their intelligence level and talents were written in stone.

That success was as much to do about hard work as it was about innate abilities.

While this admirable it is not revolutionary or indeed true.

We do have ‘physical limits’.

Someone born with a low IQ or few talents cannot however hard they try, become an Einstein or become outstanding in talent based pursuits.

They can get better, just not rise to the highest heights.

That goes without saying. We all KNOW that.

If her point is that we can achieve more than we THINK we can, through adopting a ‘growth mindset’ instead of a ‘fixed mindset’ then that’s a reasonable assumption born out of her studies.

It’s not revolutionary however and presupposes many assumptions about success.

What is success?

Hard work and striving to be better?

Better than what?

According to Dweck that is all there is.

No room for acknowledgement of the institutional brainwashing that perpetuates the myth of scarcity and the notion that hard work somehow creates ‘success’.

Surely true success is happiness.

That is not founded in hard work, unless you need to eradicate the conditioning that created the sense of unhappiness in the first place i.e. institutional capitalist brainwashing.

Happiness is a state of mind. It can be a continuous striving for betterment but it doesn’t have to be.

Happiness can also be about contentment.

Contentment NOT to work. Contentment with your IQ. Contentment with your talents.

Contentment to BE happy.

Her work is nothing more than a statement of the obvious propagated on the assumptions of the society she represents.

Capitalist exploitation of the masses for the benefit of the few.

Don’t believe it!

To Praise Or Not To Praise
One of the things she propagates is that we should refrain from giving praise.

Especially to our children.

For fear they will become complacent!

However, we all also need praise and acknowledgement of our innate talents to help our self esteem and motivate us to be great.

To suggest otherwise is to perpetuate the lie that is the establishments answer to finding real happiness.


Pointless exercise.


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