This post will be one of many that is focused on
understanding how we are thinking and what ultimately is our deep programing
that we have accepted into our consciousness.
As I’m sure everyone is aware of, our external reality is a
reflection of our internal world. If we are negative, lack self worth and don’t
have much confidence this will generally show up in the way we look, act and
how fulfilled we are. Just to point out this doesn’t necessarily mean that we
are not successful in our chosen fields, it more shows that we could possibly
have everything we thought we wanted, however we are more depressed then those
with ‘nothing’ think Robin Williams.
Now what I am about to present, isn’t the end all to be all
in focusing on self mastery. However, I think this is a great place to start or
to gain awareness from, because these models we adopt have great significance
in our lives.
This work is based on the Philosophers Note that Brian
Johnson presents on Self Theories by Carrol Dweak.
Ok so lets start at the very, very beginning. Carrol
Dwaek is a world leading researcher in
the fields of personality, social psychology, and developmental psychology,
presents this work with over 30 years of research and knowledge cram packed
into this book. She breaks down her ideas on;
How to change the operating system we run on
How to eliminate failure (by changing your definition of it)
Effectively improving goal setting
Taking control of your Self Esteem
Is Your Operating
System In Need Of An Upgrade?
Dweak explains that through her research she believes that
we incorporate one of two beliefs systems that subtly but powerfully dictate
the trajectory of our lives. She calls these systems as the Entity Theory (ET)
and the Incremental Theory (IT).
The ET is the belief that we take on that we
are a fixed being, that our intelligence or skill is permanent and we are
unable to change this, think of someone using the quotes I can’t do that, I’m not good at that.These people tend to live
their lives coasting by on things that are easy and achievable as they are
scared to show their perceived boundaries.
IT is the belief that although we are blessed with certain
skills and abilities these are all malleable. Everything is open for
improvement and that through experimenting and trail and error, we can improve
and gain new skills, abilities and knowledge. Those that take to this model are
not scarred to fail, they embrace it, they are the ones that are willing to ask
questions even though they may think others may think them to be stupid. They
embrace failure as a pathway to success. Two very powerful yet apposing points
of view, which can lead to drastic differences in quality of life.
Dweck does state that there can be shortcomings in the IT,
as those that use this model at times can be quick to hide there intelligence
in order to learn something new. I guess the point here is that although you
feel you are always in a state of learning, there is a point where you need to
acknowledge the progress you have already made (within reason obviously)
How To Eliminate
Failure (By Changing The Definition Of It): Attribution Retraining
Dweck mentions that a largely overlooked issue that many of
us face is that we simply do not know how to interpret failure. Dweck recalls an
experiment where students were split into 2 groups. There were the ‘smart’
people placed in one group and the remaining students placed in the other. The
second group was given feedback for failure.
They were told when they failed that it was due to lack of effort, in
one example they only completed 5 tasks when the passing grade was completion
of 6. They were told if they worked harder they would have succeeded.
Both groups re did tests that they had each previously
failed. Surprisingly the so-called smart group didn’t do very well when faced
with this challenge. The other group with the attribution retraining however
showed a noticeable improvement in there scores.
Now how does this show up in your life? For me, I can
honestly say that there are many things that I have dabbled in and although I
feel I generally adopt the IT mindset. There have been certain attempts I’ve
made into Internet Marketing an even trying to learn Pick Up that I can apply
this kind of training. One of the many things that I love Tim Ferriss say is
that if you view your life as a serious of experiments you can never really
feel failure. You just learned what not to do, or what you need to improve on.
Improve Your Goals
And Improve Your Life. Learning Goals (LG) vs Performance Goals (PG)
In addition to the skill of interpreting failure we must
also critique the way in which we view our current goals in life. Dweck makes
the distinction between the kinds of goals that we use on ourselves and how
these can be a reflection of the underlying programming we use.
PG are goals that we set which directly measure your current
aptitude and ability. Or they have a set out come which could be un-reasonable.
In any case Dweck states these goals are important and necessary but not for
every goal we set (which is what I personally do). The attention is measuring
ability which if you experience failure; it can be seen as a reflection of your
Dweck introduces us to the idea LG. These goals are based on
general growth in any particular field or learning of a new skill. These kinds
of goals have the already accepted notion that you will face failure and you
are not expected to be a master immediately. Simply showing improvement in an
area could be considered a success. The
attention for this goal is about learning new strategies for learning. Failure
is not a reflection of you as a person.
Now these can be subconscious patterns we adopt based on
wether we approach life from the ET or IT models. But to be clear, Dweck states
that regardless of the model you currently use, you can still adopt the LG into
Whole Hearted Self Esteem
Diving a bit deeper into what may have caused us to take on
either particular model, Dweck explains here how the wording of praise at a
young age can be a major factor, not only to how we perceive life but also to
the kind of self esteem we have.
Contingent self esteem is simply put us feeling self worth or achievement when
they succeed. They are used to hearing things like your so gifted, you’re a natural, your so smart. These people have
been applauded and given the idea that when they do well they deserve
Therefore they choose to believe when they fail they do not
deserve to feel good. They failed.
However those with Whole Hearted self esteem is more based on the fact that you
are striving wholeheartedly for worthwhile things. The idea of a cut and dry
failure is not so much apparent. It’s more that they are working towards
something of value to them and that they are learning and growing. This
powerful difference can impact your life in such a powerful way. You can see
that this in conjunction with the IT model can be very powerful.
How Does This
Apply To You
Hopefully through this post you can take a look at yourself
and see what models and mindsets that you have personally adopted. I strongly
feel that awareness and simply being conscious of a pattern is a major step to
being able to change it. It’s clear to live any kind of fulfilling and powerful
life we must adopt a model that we are capable of becoming whoever we want to
be. All it requires is our dedicated and focused attention and work. We need to
change our way of determining success by using the learning goals format as
well as learning how to interpret any potential failure we will face. We should
develop our sense of worthiness and self esteem based on our commitment to
growing and expanding into areas that are important to us.
Finally and most importantly, we need to be conscious of the
kinds of praise that we give to ourselves and to others. Now we can understand
that by focusing our praise effort, strategy and dedication we are encouraging
others and the future generations that failure is not important. What is
important is that you have the guts to go after what you want and becoming the
person you want to be. Imagine how different the world could be if we all
thought like this? Be the change you want to see people and use this to
actualize your own potential!
Peace and love people