Have you ever wondered why some talented people reach their full potential while otherequally talented people do not?
This has been a question that Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has asked for over three decades. And after much research, she concluded that the answer lies in how people think about developing talent. Some people believe that they are born with certain talents and that they should work with what they have. Others, on the other hand, believe that they can develop new talents by adopting a “growing mind” attitude.
In a recent New York Times article, Janet Rae Dupree wrote about Ms. Dwek’s findings.
“Society is obsessed with the idea of talent and genius and people who are ‘naturals’ with innate ability,” she quotes Ms. Dweck as saying. “People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront their own mistakes and learn from them.”
Growing your strengths
For years there has been a debate about whether people should work to improve their weak points or focus on their strengths. Some say that the only way to succeed is to fix your weaknesses, while others say that you should build on your unique abilities and delegate the rest. One group believes that weaknesses can and must be turned into strengths, while the other group says that this just results in stronger weak points.
But with the economy changing at a faster speed than ever, it’s ever more important to grow your strengths. Developing some unique ability gives you a vantage point that people with many average skills never attain. And even in your areas of strength, there is always a lot of room for improvement. The easiest way to grow a skill is to start reading as much as you can about it. This opens your mind to how other people have used your talent in novel ways.
Above all, never let yourself fall into the trap of thinking, “Oh, I don’t have any special talents. I’m just trying to make a living.” We all have many talents. Some of them may be buried deep down and some may not have been used in a long time, but they are there. With a little focus and drive you can find them — and find new ways to a richer life.
EXERCISE OF THE WEEK
Read something new about a talent or skill you have and open your mind to the possibility that there’s always room for growth.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most…We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It”s not just in some of us; it”s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.