“I’m not good at ____.” This single phrase might limit more people in the world than any other phrase. Many people inherently believe that being “good” at something is something that either comes naturally or doesn’t come at all. Most people watch celebrities and heroes and wrongly assume that those people were born that way, but contrary to popular opinion, people aren’t born spectacular, they develop into something spectacular. This all boils down to the fact that people have one of two general belief sets: either one, they have a fixed mindset or two, they have a growth mindset. A persons belief will greatly influence what they are capable of achieving and fixed vs. growth mindset is highly influential on your future success.
The vast majority of people in the world are Fixed mindset. The fixed mindset individual believes that talent is inherited and that people either “have it” or they don’t. For example: countless people assume just because they don’t pick up a new skill instantly that it’s not for them. Most people assume that if something is not instantly comfortable or easy to learn that they can never be good at it. There is a strange dichotomy in the group think (the collective opinion of society), that practice makes perfect, however people constantly limit themselves by believing in talent over practice. Fixed mindset says this: “You are as good as you are at something” and the worst part is that it’s almost always true! The fixed mindset belief system is a self fulfilling prophecy, because if you don’t believe you are good or can get good at something then you most definitely will not.
Growth mindset people believe that skill is developed through practice and hard work and that people aren’t born champions, rather that they develop into them through practice, persistence, and overcoming adversity. People who hold the belief mindset believe if they aren’t instantly good at something it doesn’t matter, because if they choose to work at it they will be. Growth mindset produces an internal belief system that allows you to do or become anything you want. Growth minded people believe that while some people may have certain situations or experiences that make them initially better at something (talent), that all talent is wasted unless you commit to continual improvement and practice. The growth mindset allows you to achieve anything, and most of the people who achieve success in life are of this mindset.
What about the super successful people who rose to the greatest heights? Surely the Michael Jordans of the world got there because of talent!
Michael Jordan is a great example of the GROWTH MINDSET in action. Michael Jordan is famous for not making the Varsity team his sophomore year in high school. He played JV, while a player that Mike believed was not as good as him started on Varsity. Michael Jordan came into the NBA as the #3 draft pick, and started his first 3 seasons with the lowest 3 point shot average in the entire league. So while MJ may have been good, he wasn’t always the greatest of all time.
Its easy to find the information if you take a look, but MJ professes himself that hard work, not talent got him to his status as the greatest of all time. Don’t take my word for it, here it is in MJ’s own words-“Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you.”
Its pretty simple really: people are a product of their environments, beliefs, and actions. If you grow up in a limiting environment where people often tell you that you can’t do something, if you come to believe that skill is a result of talent or luck and not practice, if you don’t practice because you believe only talent matters, then you aren’t going to be really great at anything. Even if you happen to be very naturally good at something, you will be so terrified of failure (because it would mean that you aren’t talented after all), that you will never be able to grow and reach your potential.
Growth mindset means that failure is not only necessary, but its beneficial. If you want to get better, you have to learn, and the best lessons come from failure. If you find that you currently believe in talent, and hold a fixed mindset, your first step in success will have to be overcoming this limiting belief. Until you believe in hard work, practice, and your ability to become good at anything, you can’t achieve anything great. Believing in talent over all else is a recipe for a sad, fearful, and mediocre life. Embrace failure, believe in the process of hard work, and believe in the power of any and every person to grow into a superstar.