Attitude vs Intelligence

Which is which? Can’t we have both? Of course. But here is the catch. Latest research reveals that your attitude is a better predictor of success than your IQ.

Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Standford University, has practically spent her entire career studying attitude and performance. In her book Mindset, she categorized people’s core attitudes into two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Now, we are all inspired by people who are smart, especially in school. However, if the person has fixed mindset, such confidence will only stay while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how we handle setbacks and challenges.

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms. She said, “Failure is information – we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’”

So, how do we develop a growth mindset? Here are some suggestions from Carol Dweck.

Don’t stay helpless. We all have those moments. But the test is how we react to that feeling. We can either go down with it or make it as a learning experience. Countless of successful people who would have never made it if they had given in to their feelings of helplessness: Manny Pacquiao, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Oprah Winfrey, and many others. People with a growth mindset don’t feel helpless because they know that in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.

Be passionate. Pursue your passions relentlessly. What you lack in talent, you can make up for passion. I always tell my students to write down their goals and determine what it is they really want. As soon as they identify their ambitions, they get very excited and begin to take steps to make it done. And then I tell them to never give up until such is attained.

Act. Nothing happens when we do not act. People with a growth mindset are not braver than the rest of us, but they know that fear and anxiety are paralyzing emotions and the best way to overcome this paralysis is to take action. There is no such thing as a perfect moment to move forward, so don’t wait for one.

Expect results. People with a growth mindset know that they’re going to fail from time to time, but they never let that keep them from expecting results. Expecting results keeps you motivated and feeds the cycle of empowerment. After all, if you don’t think you’re going to succeed, then why bother?

Don’t complain when things don’t go your way. Complaining is an obvious sign of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset looks for opportunity in everything, so there’s no room for complaints.

Attitude makes altitude. IQ and talent can only bring us far enough. Without a growth mindset, we get stuck and ultimately fade in oblivion.

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