What do you think about when you watch a talented musician perform? Do you think about how gifted the performer is? Do you think about all the hard work that went into the performance preparation? You likely have a combination of both ideas running through your head. Some of us are more likely to believe in innate talent, while some place more weight on the power of persistence. We all fall somewhere along the spectrum of growth and fixed mindsets. What exactly is the difference?
Growth mindset has become a popular concept in recent years. In this mindset, failure is an opportunity to grow, and constructive feedback is valued. Individuals with a growth mindset value sharing information, collaborating, innovating, and admitting errors. In contrast, a fixed mindset views failure as an indication of the limits of ability. In this mindset, talent is king, and you either have it or you don’t.
There is a place for talent. If something comes easily, you are likely to enjoy the work and be able to build on your abilities at a faster pace. What we often don’t realize is that talent arises from our unique interests and everyday efforts. The child with a passion for music is likely to pay more attention to music in everyday life, to think about music, and to give full attention during music lessons. This child will probably seem to have more “innate talent” than a child who would rather be playing sports. You can see that there’s more to it than either “having it” or not.
Whenever you encounter something that frustrates you, know that you’re already on your way to overcoming the challenge. If you’re frustrated, it means you care, and that kind of passion is exactly what you need to overcome obstacles. Tell yourself it will happen, take a break when you need it, and keep working toward your goals!