EMPOWERED people are always pushing against their limit to go the extra mile, even on their worst days. Have you heard the story about Bruce Lee and one of his students who ran three miles with him every day. One day, they were about to hit the three-mile mark when Bruce commented, “Let’s do two more.” The pupil was dead tired and said, “I’ll die if I run two more.” And Bruce responded: “Then do it.” His pupil went on to finish the full five miles, but he was very angry that he confronted Bruce about his comments, and Bruce explained it this way: “Quit and you might as well be dead. If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there; you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.” Do you agree? What he meant is that if you are not getting better each day, then you’re most likely getting worse — and what kind of life is that?
Similarly, when it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave others behind. Not necessarily true, according to an article by Travis Bradberry entitled “Why attitude is more important IQ,” a new research from Stanford University will change your mind — and your attitude.
In her latest study, Psychologist Carol Dweck spent her entire career studying attitude and performance and found that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. She explained that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: 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.
On the other hand, those with growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort, and as a result, they outperform those with a fixed mindset, even though they may have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, and treat them as opportunities to learn something new.
People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms. Common sense suggests that being smart inspires confidence, but only when the going is easy. The deciding factor is how you handle setbacks and challenges. According to Dweck, life success is about how you deal with failures. She describes how people with growth mindset approach failure differently.
“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.'”
Regardless of which side of the chart you fall on, you can make changes and develop a growth mindset. What follows are some strategies that will fine-tune your mindset and help you make certain it’s as growth oriented as possible.
We all hit low moments when we feel helpless. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down. There are countless successful people who would have never made it if they had succumbed to feelings of helplessness: Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore for being “too emotionally invested in her stories”, Henry Ford had two failed car companies prior to succeeding with Ford, and Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s Cinematic Arts School multiple times. Imagine what would happen these people had succumbed to the rejection and given up hope. On the other hand, those with a growth mindset don’t feel helpless because they know that to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.
Empowered people pursue their passions relentlessly. There’s always going to be someone more naturally talented than you are, but what you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion. Warren Buffet recommends using the 5/25 technique: Write down the 25 things that you care about the most. Then, cross out the bottom 20. The remaining five are your true passions. Everything else is merely a distraction.
We all have fears, but those with growth mindset believes that fear and anxiety are paralyzing emotions, so the best way to overcome them is by taking action. Empowered people know there’s no such thing as a truly perfect moment to move forward. So, by taking action, they turn their concern and worries about failure into positive, focused energy.
People with a growth mindset know that they will fail from time to time, but they never let it keep them down. Expecting results keeps you motivated and feed the cycle of empowerment. After all, if you don’t think you’re going to succeed, then why bother?
Everyone encounters adversity, but you can embrace adversity as a means for improvement, rather than a setback. When an empowered person is challenged by an unexpected situation, they always keep moving until they achieve breakthrough or get results.
So, don’t complain when things don’t go your way, as complaining is an obvious sign of a fixed mindset. Instead, look for opportunities in every situation. Moving forward, make it a habit to keep track of how you respond to little things every day, to ensure you are in the positive zone.
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