Our genes influence our intelligence and talents, but these qualities are not fixed at birth. If you mistakenly believe that your capabilities derive from DNA and destiny, rather than practice and perseverance, then you operate with what Dweck calls a “fixed mindset” rather than a “growth mindset.” Our parents and teachers exert a big influence on which mindset we adopt—and that mindset, in turn, has a profound impact on how we learn and which paths we take in life. […] People with the growth mindset believe that basic qualities, including intelligence, can be strengthened like muscles. It’s not that they believe that anyone can become the next Albert Einstein or Michael Jordan if they just work hard enough on their physics homework or fadeaway jumpers. Instead, in Dweck’s words “they believe a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.” As a result, they have every incentive to take on tough challenges and seek out opportunities to improve.
Also published on Medium.