What is the determining factor that leads people to become successful? Is it merely hard work or being intellectually superior or talented in certain areas? According to world-renowned author and Professor Carol Dweck, it has more to do with the individual’s mindset or beliefs about themselves, not about how smart they are or how hard working someone is.
Of course working hard is a prerequisite to success, but only to a point. However, if your self-belief or theory about yourself is filled with negativity or an idea that says you cannot do something because you are not ‘smart’ enough, no amount of ‘hard work’ is going to bring you into success in life.
Who is Carol Dweck?
Dweck is a psychologist who has done extensive research over the last 30 years on the cause and effect of how one’s thoughts catapult them into being successful or lead them on the path of feeling inadequate and thereby failing to achieve their goals in life. She has, in a way, proven, “Success is 90% attitude and 10% hard work.”
A Professor of psychology at Stanford University, she has a Ph.D. from Yale and has taught at some of the most prestigious colleges around the country, including Columbia University and Harvard University of Illinois. Her book, “Self-Theories Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development” was awarded Book of The Year in 1999 by the World Education Federation.
Her newest book “Mindset The New Psychology of Success,” explains why intelligence and talent do not automatically bring success.
It’s not about intelligence so much as it’s about a person’s mindset, their belief, attitude or outlook about themselves. She explains that intelligence, as well as abilities or talents, are not merely a result of being “born that way”. These attributes are not fixed or settled and are not the determining factors of success.
In her book “Mindset”, she explains people maintain two differing types of views on ability and or intelligence. The first of which is the ‘entity view’ that says intelligence is immovable and established. Those who hold this idea have an elevated craving to prove themselves to others; to be seen as intellectual and to avoid at all costs, appearing unintelligent. She explains how this self-theory can actually prevent a person from becoming successful.
The second view is the ‘incremental view’. This belief treats intelligence as malleable, fluid and constantly changeable. Those who have this mindset find fulfillment from the learning/growing process itself, they also see the potential for prospects to continually lead to better opportunities. They don’t focus on what the outcome says about them – but what can be achieved from taking part in an endeavor.
Dweck herself has credited her discoveries and research to her own success as becoming a prestigious psychology professor, author and professional woman. She is one of the leading motivational researchers in the world, whose written works and lectures have spurred many on to finding success using positive thought changing motivational ideas.