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.
How exactly do you improve your attitude? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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