I think we’ve all heard the concept that if you believe it you can achieve it. Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Have you ever tried to achieve a goal when you had doubts about your ability to achieve it? I know I have!
The first time I ran a marathon, I knew that if I put the time and energy into to training for it, I could achieve my goal of finishing. During the training process, there were times when I had my doubts. Was I crazy for thinking I could run 26.2 miles? During that training process, my confidence slowly grew, step-by-step, as did my conditioning and stamina, completing one long run after another, slowly adding mileage each week. It was an incredible feeling as my confidence grew during this process to the point that I not only came to believe that I could run and finish a marathon, I knew I could run and finish a marathon. I definitely prefer the believe and achieve mindset.
Carol Dwek, a psychologist at Stanford University, has quantified and tracked how beliefs shape outcomes. Dwek identified two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A person with a fixed mindset believes that they cannot change their abilities. A person with a growth mindset believes they can grow and evolve to improve themselves. In this study, a group of 373 students were followed from the beginning of the seventh grade thru the end of the eighth grade. Students with a growth mindset experienced a rise in their grade point average while the fixed mindset students grade point average remained the same. A different study looked at people taking IQ tests. Those who read an article right before taking the test that stated that IQ scores are changeable (instead of being fixed based on genes) showed improved IQ scores. Isn’t that remarkable?
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Effective leaders embrace a growth mindset, and more importantly, instill a growth mindset in others.