Sunday, October 9, 2011

self-fulfilling beliefs

Again and again, it appears that success is strongly determined by self-fulfilling beliefs. Belief in unlimited willpower causes willpower to materialize. Belief in self-determinism leads to self-determinism. These things are so powerful and yet so underestimated.

The latest awesome demonstration of this (stolen from Wired via Farnam Street) shows that belief in unlimited capacity for developing new skills causes higher capacity for skills, through more efficient learning. Skip the details and concerns about the paper; this interpretation is the point and I'm confident in its truth without seeing any evidence at all:

"While people with a fixed mindset see mistakes as a dismal failure — a sign that we aren’t talented enough for the task in question — those with a growth mindset see mistakes as an essential precursor of knowledge, the engine of education."

Nuff said. Obvious, but so often forgotten.

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