Success – that elusive thing
A new (ish) book out now by Carol Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success) has now postulated a new theory about success. Surprise, surprise, the ‘positive mental attitude’ (Dale Carnegie + million others) is apparently not sufficient. It really depends, according to Dr. Dweck, on whether your mindset is fixed or whether it is a growth mindset.
She contends that a fixed mindset is actually negative, because, even if you believe you are talented or that you are a star, that this mindset limits your growth and achievement. On the other hand, a ‘growth’ mindset allows you to learn, grow and improve.
Dweck discovered that mastery-oriented children are very keen on learning something and they effectively have “learning goals” - which inspire a different chain of thoughts and behaviours than “performance goals.”
[Private thought 1: Soon, everyone will agree with my thoughts, which were originally quite contrarianJ.
Private thought 2: My other half constantly chides me that when I am ‘different’ all the time, I end up being predictably different, which isn’t all that different.]
I generally use the term ‘process’ goals and ‘output’ goals to distinguish between types of goals. One can possibly argue that process goals are not really goals, but let’s side aside semantics for the moment.
Dweck’s findings are a spin on ‘attribution theory’ if you are that way inclined. In simple terms, success and failure is determined (or least influenced) by the excuses you come up with when confronted with your own success or failure. (You know how some people believe success is explained by other people’s lucky, but their own talents?)
I said it before, but it is worth repeating: A positive attitude only makes opportunities glow in the dark. True success comes from actually tackling those opportunities, not from having any specific attitude. To be successful, you only need a 51% strike rate.