Personal Resilience

Building Personal Resilience

That your attitude matters so much has always been known, so it is no surprise that this truism has now passed the rigours of scientific method.

New research by Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. Not only that, she found that you have one of two broad mindsets, 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.

Reading an article in a newspaper over the weekend, I quite liked the analogy “face up to life’s challenges and see effort as a path to mastery not as a brand of suffering.” I think that this is particularly relevant in today’s world where we are seeing an ever increasing number of people wanting and expecting everything instantly. When faced with a knock back, a refusal or a requirement to put in some effort with no guarantee of success, they struggle to find their resilience!

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way,

“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.’”

This reminded me of the story of Edison who brought the commercial light bulb to the world. who after each bulb failure framed the failure as just another way it hasn’t worked, proceeding to learn from the failure and moving straight onto the next design.

Persistence is rewarded when a flexible and growth mindset are present.

What’s also important is to understand your motivation.  Knowing the things you love to do will be a big influence on your success, you will do these things easily, knowing the things your passionate about and making these the things you concentrate on will, combines with the flexible and growth mindsets nearly always guarantee your success.

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