The Mindset Quiz: Proving You’re Smart
Do you define success as a process of learning or by proving you’re smart? Do you feel that you have to prove to yourself and the world that you are a success? Or could you care less what the world thinks and see life simply as a continuous challenge and learning opportunity? Your answers to these questions and the quiz below can give you great insights into your approach to success and the likelihood of feeling that you’ve attained it.
Which of the following sentences do you agree with the most. Choose 4 of them.
1) Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
2) You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.
3) No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
4) You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.
5) You are a certain kind of person, and there is not really much that can be done to change that.
6) No matter what kind of person you are you can always change substantially.
7) You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
8) You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
If you tend to agree with 1, 2, 5, & 7 then you lean toward a fixed mindset.
If you agree more with 3, 4, 6, & 8 then you have a growth mindset.
These are terms coined by Carol Dweck in her awesome and insightful book, “Mindset”.
Her premise is that people with a growth mindset have a greater chance of success because their identity and self-image are not tied to instances of failure along the way to eventual success. Fixed mindset people however see each and every real and possible failure or setback as an indication of who and what they are. If you’re a fixed mindset person you either have it or you don’t, and if you fail then doesn’t that mean you’re a failure? This leads to a cautious approach to opportunity, experience, and life because the fixed mindset doesn’t want to jeopardize or risk having to reconcile reality with what they think of themselves.
This explains a good portion of my life more than I’d like to admit. I was told as a child that I was smart. I believed it and avoided taking any chances that might prove otherwise, lest I might have to reconsider if that was true. This explains my predisposition to playing it safe, and the lazy gene. This explains my willingness to give in to resistance and settle for a shadow career. Basically someone with a fixed mindset lives to support and protect their own self-image at all costs. It colors every decision and choice, making you a prisoner to your own ego. It’s hard to succeed without encountering failure along the way. Any success achieved by tiptoeing around failure will surely end up small, unfulfilling, and leaving a mine-field of fear behind.
The good news is that even if you lean toward the fixed mindset like I have in the past, you can change it into a growth mindset. The growth mindset doesn’t mind feeling like a beginner, or making mistakes, or learning more, or being patient while mastery is developed. It’s a belief that with work and effort anyone can get better at anything they choose to pursue with passion and purpose. That failure has nothing to do with who you are at your core, or that it makes any permanent statement about what you can accomplish. It also gives you permission to not have to feel perfect or perform perfectly as you learn and develop. It’s a liberating mindset that will unleash your potential. It will liberate you from the idea that you have to prove yourself to yourself or to the world. Ahh, what a relief!
ps I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’ve been so jazzed up about the first part that I couldn’t wait to share. I think this book is a “must read”. Read it soon. If you’re thinking, “how could that possibly help, I’m already smart”, then go to Amazon now and get it.
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