There is a secret to happiness not many people think about that requires being ready to change.
Avoiding it may just stem from people calling you smart.
Fixed vs. Growth
Did you know that psychologists suggest you should avoid telling your children they’re smart? It’s true, and it all comes from the research of Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck.
Dr. Dweck found that there were two mindsets that governed how limited people were on their road to success. And she found that a lot of it had to do with the messages we heard at a young age, even good ones.
In her research, she found that people either had a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. For people with a fixed mindset, they believed that talent and ability were innate: you were either born with skill and intellect or you weren’t.
For people with a growth mindset, it was much different: if you wanted to become smarter, you simply studied more and worked harder. Being ready for change was part of the approach.
If you wanted to gain new talents, you simply applied yourself. Of the two groups, the one that found the most success was the group that believed that you had the ability to improve yourself and make yourself better, which is why telling your kids they’re smart, might be counter productive.
A Different Approach to Intelligence
What was discovered with this new approach to intelligence was that there were factors that would cause people to look at the world with a fixed mindset. One of those was what kind of reinforcement they received.
When kids received reinforcement such as “you’re so smart”, it actually had a counterproductive effect.
The problem was that saying “you’re smart” made intelligence seem like a fixed asset: you either had it or you didn’t. This worked for awhile, but over time the effects began to wane. Instead of being ready for change, kids avoided assignments and tasks that they found too challenging. Their concerns over wanting to maintain the moniker of “smart” made them cautious about doing anything that would cause them to lose that title.
On the other hand, kids that were praised for their work ethic grew. They took on challenges and did things outside their comfort zone. They knew that if they applied themselves, they could accomplish great things.
Being Ready for Change
If you want to find success, you need to be ready for change. You should look at the world not as a bunch of predefined options that you simply have to live with, but as many opportunities for growth, learning, and possibility.
It may be easier to say that something is unattainable because of status, finances, intellect, or something else. But would you rather be able to say it can’t be done or hold on to the hope that you can do it?
Change will happen whether you want it or not, but embracing it could be the thing that sets you on the path to success. Find ways to invite change and make the most of it. It can lead you to a whole new world.