(What) I Think, Therefore I Am (Able to Do)

This is an excellent article that provides a synopsis of the work of Carol Dweck.  I highly recommend it.  The core insight is simple: those who believe their intelligence and personality are malleable and something they have the power to shape and alter are able to sustain success, rise to challenges, and recover from failure.

It doesn’t really matter whether personality and intelligence are changeable.  Believing that they are creates a better mindset for dealing with the real world.  If you believe you can change yourself you won’t search for validation of what you are, you’ll try ti improve what you are.  You won’t feel defeated by failure because you can get better and try again.  You won’t feel threatened by the success of others but inspired by their example.

You can consciously cultivate a growth mindset.  There are practices and disciplines and slight alterations in your habits and use of language that can begin to chip away at the fixed mindset.  (I’ve found Martin Seligman to have some excellent resources for this.)  It’s the opposite of the silly self-esteem stuff like telling yourself you can do anything.  It’s more about taking on small challenges and overcoming them as a way to train your brain in how to succeed.