You May Not Be Who You Are Born to Be

By Ing Sopheap,

Do people become successful because they are born smart or have natural talents? Are our abilities and intelligence predetermined?

It depends on how we perceive these qualities. We can’t underestimate the power of our mindsets. The beliefs we choose to feed our minds are powerful enough to shape our lives.

In a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck stated that there are two types of mindsets: one that’s fixed and one that grows. By taking a look at how the two mindsets define how we react to our successes and failures, we can better understand why our mindset has a significant influence on our lives.


©Steve Davis/2015/CC BY 2.0

The Fixed Mindset

People with fixed mindsets believe that they can’t change their basic qualities like intelligence, personality and moral character. The moment they are born everything is already determined.

For them, success is about being smart and talented. They must feel like they don’t need to put much effort into accomplishing something. If they do, that means they’re not  smart or talented. They always try to play it safe by doing the things they’re good at. They’re not interested in things that are too challenging for them. They want to feel like their set of abilities are superior to others’.

When they fail, it means they’re no longer intelligent or talented. They need to be as flawless as possible. They’re afraid of making mistakes because they believe those mistakes can permanently define them. Also, they respond to feedback negatively. For example, Dr. Dweck found that students with a fixed mindset lost interest when they got a wrong answer. They also didn’t want to know what the right answer was. To them, it’s a sign of weakness to show their flaws and loose their face.

© geralt on Pixabay

The Growth Mindset

In contrast, those who have the growth mindset believe that they can use their efforts to develop their basic qualities. Even though people may not have the same talents and aptitudes, interests, or personalities, they can learn and grow constantly to be better.

They see success as learning new things to improve themselves. They strongly value effort because it’s what helps them to become smart and talented. They cherish a challenge as a way of expanding unknown talents. The bigger the challenge, the more they can grow. They prioritize learning over looking smart.

Although failure’s still an unpleasant experience, they don’t let it define them. They learn from it in order to prepare themselves to succeed in the future. On top of that, people with the growth mindset acknowledge their current ability. They’re keen on learning from their mistakes. They try to absorb the useful information that can facilitate their learning process.

Final thought

Sometimes, we focus too much on results rather than our efforts. When we fail, we feel  like our blood, sweat, and tears went to waste. We forget how much we’ve learnt and improved along the process.

What matters is how we manage our mindset. Our beliefs have the power to transform our realities. So, we ought to choose wisely.

After reading this article, do you think you are adopting the right mindset?


Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

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