Success Doesn't Depend On Skill

Success Doesn't Depend On Skill

There is merit to the saying, "You can do anything you set your mind to."

Imagine this: You're watching the Olympics. You see all these amazing athletes that are the best of the best in their respective sports. You think to yourself, "I could never do that!" But is that because you feel you don't have the talent? Or because you don't have the time to dedicate to it?

More often than not, we react negatively to someone who is really great at something. Instead of letting it inspire us, it makes us feel negative about ourselves. "I'll never be that good at anything," we think to ourselves.

What if I told you that success doesn't depend solely upon talent? What if I said that you can be successful at anything you put your mind to?

Carol Dweck is the world's leading researcher on motivation. Based on her findings, she believes that many of us stick to the things we succeed in quickly. We don't work on things we're not good at because we view "talent" as a deciding factor in success. If we try something once and it doesn't come easily to us, we assume that it's something we will never be good at, and we stop trying.

Dweck's research separates the way people think about success and talent into two different categories: A fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is one that many people have. They may be very good at what they do, but they often never reach their full potential because they think that if they aren't good at something right away, they will never be able to do it. These people feel that they have to be absolutely flawless, which can easily wear down your drive to continue pushing on.

On the other end of the spectrum, a growth mindset is the mindset of someone who shows resilience. When they don't immediately succeed at something, they brainstorm ways that they can be successful the next time. They keep trying. They view every failure as an opportunity to learn, rather than letting that failure lead them to believe that they just aren't good at that thing.

If you're thinking about yourself right now and you're starting to get worried because you think you have a fixed mindset, don't worry! Just like nearly everything else, a mindset can be changed.

Dweck created a program for our children, called Brainology®. Brainology® uses interactive lessons about the psychology of the brain to teach kids that intelligence is malleable and can be improved through learning and practice.

Although most of Dweck's research has been regarding children, we can take her findings and apply them to adults as well. For example, take the comparison of tennis player John McEnroe and boxer Muhammad Ali.

McEnroe admitted time and time again that he had a fixed mindset. If he lost, he blamed it on everything but himself. He would even avoid the situation again if he could. If he didn't win every match, it wore on his self-worth, so he often gave up. This held him back from reaching his full potential. He never learned anything from his failures.

Ali, on the other hand, developed and cultivated a growth mindset. This mindset helped him to become as great as he could be. Boxing experts determine if a boxer is a "natural" by physical measurements, like fist size and reach, among other things. Ali failed all these measurements and wasn't considered to be a "natural" boxer. Because of this, Ali studied his opponents any way that he could, in order to understand how their minds worked. He used this information against them in the ring. He relied on his mental strength, rather than just his physical strength (like other boxers). This not only evened the playing field for him, but also helped him exceed his predicted potential.

While some people will have a greater aptitude for some things over others, intelligence is not entirely fixed and neither is talent. If you try a new task, take a new class, or get offered a promotion, don't shy away from the challenge to learn something new! If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it. If you don't get it the first time, ask for help, try again, and push on. I truly believe that if you work hard enough on something, you can do whatever you set your mind to.

Learn to love learning again and be patient with yourself! The improvements you see in your own performance will astound you.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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You May Be In College, But Positive Reinforcement Is Still Essential For A Better Life

It's truly amazing to see how positive reinforcement, especially from a professor or someone who works in your chosen field, can boost your confidence.


Being a freshman in college is tough, and I'm absolutely positive that I'm not the first person to say that. For me, the biggest adjustments came with being far from home, having to make brand new friends, and actually figuring out what I want to do with my life. Now, those first two items were not that difficult to find solutions to, but that last one? That is a completely different story.

In the span of six-seven months, I have gone back and forth, again and again with just about every combination of majors and minors that you could think of. At this moment, I think I've finally found a combination that will truly push me to succeed in my goals. By the end of next semester, I'm hopeful that I will be able to declare my major and minors.

But, the point of this article is to share the point in this current semester, where I really believed that my goals can become a reality. Right now, I am enrolled in a course called "introduction to critical intelligence studies." After much debate with the class, our professor decided to put our midterm online, making it a take-home exam. It consisted of a few multiple choice questions and three essays of our choosing. With the idea that this exam was take-home, I knew that my professor would be expecting us to put our best foot forward and all of our time and effort into making sure we did well.

And I did. This was the first midterm result that I got back and it was a 100. How did I find this out? For one day, instead of class, my professor met with each of us individually for at least ten minutes to discuss what we were hoping to get out of this class. It was during this meeting that she told me my grades and more.

My professor had explained to me that based on my writing, she did not think that I was just a mere freshman. She continued to say that I have a knack for analysis, as well as the fact that it was truly evident that I took in all the information from her lectures and the assigned readings. With my grades in mind and what I hoped to do in the future, my professor assured me that I should have no problem accomplishing my goals. My professor made sure that I had confidence in myself and my abilities, providing me with even more steps that would lead to success.

It's truly amazing to see how positive reinforcement, especially from a professor or someone who works in your chosen field, can boost your confidence. This reinforcement has provided me with the means and opportunity to further push myself. Since this meeting, I have been in constant contact with my professor to learn about different opportunities that can build up my resume. With her help, as well as the director of the program, I've been able to learn more about anything and everything that has to do with intelligence.

I'm proud to say that I want to go into such a field. And I'm also proud to say that I'm thankful for everyone who has decided to push me and not only celebrate my successes — but also to help me learn from my mistakes.

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