Do you believe that the best leaders are born, not made? What about musicians, artists, mathematicians?

Do you believe that there are only talented people and people with no potential to be stars? That's a fixed mindset.

If we think of ability as fixed, we discourage learning, practice and resilience. Could you be doing the same to yourself?

How a fixed mindset can be an obstacle to learning

Believing we are not naturally suited to a particular skill becomes a permanent handicap to our performance. We start to believe there's not much point in pushing ourselves to learn or perform better.

The person who’s convinced that achievers are born and that he is one of them can struggle with failure too. (It’s more commonly a characteristic of men.) He feels he has to prove he has the gift, so he has to do it naturally - without much practice. He's also likely to believe that anything less than a perfect performance is a failure. So he gets to experience failure often.

Growth mindset and resilience

The research shows that the person with a growth mindset is significantly more resilient. A growth mindsetter doesn't believe that talent or intelligence are fixed and that setbacks are just opportunities to learn. 

Many people do appear to have a natural ability, but for most of us hard work and resilience will get us there.

We need to be constantly in a growth mindset. We need to see setbacks as setbacks not failures – not permanent and not a statement about our natural talents, or lack of them.

We need to focus, not on a perfect performance, but exceeding our previous personal best.