But They’re The Same!
Two guys that pledged the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity together back in college now work at the same company a decade later. They both have their B.A. in Business from the University of Texas, they are both equally attractive and intelligent, both from similarly wealthy neighborhoods in Dallas, both drive very nice cars, married beautiful girls from back home, and even go to the same church as their boss.
At their company, one continues to succeed- he always seems to be the one with the big idea, he is always the one invited to golf, he tends to be the one who gives the presentations, everything just seems so easy for him and he just continues to grow in his role. Are his leadership skills better? Is his face more attractive, his voice more commanding, his background more enticing or his body language more dominating? No.
Then Why Aren’t They Equal?
It has nothing to do with their physical being according to Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist who has studied for three decades to conclude that the key to one’s success while the other remains less innovative is in how people think about talent and intelligence.
Those who believe they were born with all the smarts and gifts they’re ever going to have approach life with what she calls a “fixed mind-set.” Those who believe that their own abilities can expand over time, however, live with a “growth mind-set.”
Guess which ones prove to be most innovative over time.
“Society is obsessed with the idea of talent and genius and people who are ‘naturals’ with innate ability,” says Ms. Dweck, who is known for research that crosses the boundaries of personal, social and developmental psychology.
“People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront their own mistakes and learn from them.”
Smarts Vs. Talent, Which is Better?
Dr. Dweck calls the person who’s always at the top of their class or corporation the “appointed one” who dreadfully fears falling from grace. We all know the person who is used to being on top and their fear of not being Numero Uno makes it difficult to be on a team with them, most of their time is spent on attempting to dominate and be the biggest star. This personality is most likely to believe in the power of talent and rely on grooming their talent as a means of advancement. The other personality is the one to jump at the chance to stretch their experiences, to try new things and take risks that might lead them to failure but will inevitably lead to growth.
Neither personality is better than the other, but this study made me take pause to examine which I personally am so I better know my strengths and weaknesses. At one point in my life, I was most certainly focused on being the biggest star and believed that talent trumped whatever smarts I was born with, but now I personally believe that God gave me wonderful gifts and they’re mine to use or to ignore regardless of the people around me.
Can I Change?
If you identify yourself in one camp and want to be in the other, Dr. Dweck says this phenomenon is nurture over nature and it’s not an inherent genetic trait… it can be changed! Dr. Dweck says, “it’s not easy to just let go of something that has felt like your self for many years.”
Why Does it Matter?
If you are open to growth, you are more likely to grow. It’s ideal to choose team members who are open to growth because they are more willing to take risks, brainstorm effectively and function smoothly as a team member. But don’t forget those seeking stardom, they often make great leaders because they have pressure on themselves not to let anyone down and not to stop shining.
What does this mean for your team, your business relationships, your blogging efforts or even your interpersonal relationships?