I was devastated.
I had just completed a test and the results were in.
And they weren’t good.
Not what I wanted or expected.
But it wasn’t an ordinary test.
It was the standardized “IQ” test developed by Alfred Binet in the early 1900’s that many of us have had to endure.
The findings had revealed that I wasn’t a genius.
But as a young impressionable 10 year old student my potential was seemingly limited.
What I didn’t know was that Binet had created this test not as a fixed measurement of human potential but as a guide and benchmark.
His motivation for creating it was the belief that “Education and practice could bring about fundamental changes in Intelligence“.
But somehow it became distorted over the decades years and was used as a determination of a fixed intelligence.
Well meaning education experts had turned it into something that it was never intended to be.
Don’t let other people (or tests) define you
The humble IQ test had become the judge and jury of your human potential.
Something that defined you for the rest of your life.
Since then the scientists have discovered that the reality is somewhat different.
Our brains are elastic and what matters more is a mindset that will not accept limitations.
Carol S. Dweck in her book “Mindset – The New Psychology of Success and How We can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential” reveals her research on the 2 types of mindsets that can make or break us.
- Fixed Mindset – Intelligence is fixed
- Growth Mindset – Intelligence is developed
What she discovered was that our attitudes were the secret to success. Not an arbitrary test.
Image source: Mindset by Carol Dweck
The real danger of the test was that it could define you.
And that is dangerous and an unhealthy way to approach life.
The fixed vs growth mindset
Having a fixed mindset is a curse. Being put in the very smart box can hold you back.
You avoid challenges. The thinking is “I am so smart so it should everything should be easy”.
You see obstacles as a threat and not as an opportunity to grow.
Making an effort is not necessary as you are too clever to to do the work required to succeed.
You don’t accept criticism.
So learning from other experts can’t happen.
The growth mindset is what is needed to succeed.
You see challenges as an opportunity
Persist in the face of obstacles and challenges.
Learn from criticism.
Ryan Holiday in his book “Obstacle is the Way – The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs” share some wisdom that needs to be embraced.
“Focus on the things you can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher.
The impediment to action advances action.
What stands in the way becomes the way”.
The unpleasant truth is that pain is indeed your path to success.
We all know that training is required to succeed at sport but we sometimes forget that our minds also need to pushed out of their comfort zones.
What’s your mindset?
Working on yourself all through your life and constant reading and continuous learning is what is required to go from zero to hero.
The good news is that “becoming is better than being”
Succeeding at school, life or business is not pre-determined despite what your parents or teachers maybe told us.
It is your attitude and the mindset you embrace that makes the difference.
Do you have a winning mindset?