Many believe that smart people are destined for success. They believe that in order to ‘do well’ in life, you must be blessed with a high IQ.
A high IQ certainly helps with many things, but it’s not a measure of your capability to succeed in life. In fact, renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s book – Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential – reveals quite the opposite. When it comes to performance, attitude is more influential than IQ.
Her research has found that people’s attitudes generally fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. While someone with a fixed mindset believes they cannot change who they are, a person with a growth mindset believes they can improve with effort. Ultimately, the latter allows someone to make mistakes, learn and grow – outperforming their IQ and leading a more successful life in the process.
So how exactly do you improve your attitude, develop a growth mindset and outperform your IQ? Below I have provided 7 ways to do that:
1. Learn to embrace setbacks
It would be nice if life always went to plan – but it never does. Learn to not only cope with setbacks, but actually embrace them. Embracing setbacks allows you to bounce back, learn from mistakes and discover ways to achieve success.
“In other words, don’t expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say ‘we have a problem, let’s go and get it.” – Colin Powell
2. Be passionate about what you do
American business magnate Warren Buffett – who is considered to be the most successful investor in the world – has often noted that the key to success is finding your passion. Being passionate about what you do is instrumental to your success; if you’re empowered and pursue your passion relentlessly, it becomes possible to compete with those who are perhaps naturally more talented.
3. Overcome fear and take action
The best way to overcome fear and anxiety is to take action. Those with a growth mindset are not inherently braver than others – they just understand this notion and have learnt to overcome these emotions. Turn your fear of failure into positive focussed energy, and do it now because there is no such thing as the perfect moment.
4. Give it your all
Research led by Veronika Job, found that students shouldering a high workload performed better when they believed that willpower was unlimited as opposed to finite. Interestingly, when students who believed in unlimited willpower were subject to greater pressure during their studies, their performance improved even further.
The point here is to push yourself to go the extra mile, even when you’re having a bad day. There is always room for improvement; those with a growth mindset understand that there are no limits to what you can do. There will always be plateaus; you just have to learn to push past them.
5. Don’t let failure dent your expectations
Successful people expect results. When things don’t go according to plan or downright failure ensues, don’t let it dent your expectations. The minute you no longer expect results is the minute you wave goodbye to achieving your goal. When you expect results, you will remain motivated and continue on a path towards success.
6. Become flexible
Fast Company, one of the world’s leading progressive business media brands, once published an article that began with the line “Highly successful people are the ones who have failed the most.” Nothing could be more truthful.
As we all know, failure is inevitable. People with a fixed mindset view failure as a road block, and it stops them from learning and progressing. Those with a growth mindset simply view failure as a learning curve and continue on towards the results they expected – ultimately finding success. Be flexible, dodge those curve balls and continue onwards and upwards!
7. Don’t complain
Okay so there are some moments in life that warrant the expression of your displeasure such as when your housemate or partner fails to do the dishes for five nights running. However, when it comes to your career there is no room for complaints. Complaining is symptomatic of a fixed mindset; look for opportunity in every inconvenience and learn to embrace situations rather than complain about them. You never know when a golden opportunity will present itself!
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” – Barack Obama
Learn how to change your attitude and develop a growth mindset; it’s far more important to life success than having a high IQ. The best part about your attitude is that it can be altered – anyone can adjust their way of thinking if they’re prepared to work hard and embrace change.