I was doing some reading this past week and I stumbled upon a question that caught my attention, the question was: “Is a person’s talent stable and unchangeable?” The idea behind this question is to determine how far a person can go in life when pursuing their dreams. It turns out that the way a person answers this question influences how successful that person will be.
Our mindset is the view we have of our qualities and characteristics – where they come from and whether they can change.
A fixed mindset comes from the belief that our qualities are carved in stone – who we are is who we are, period. A growth mindset comes from the belief that our basic qualities are things we can cultivate through effort and determination. We all differ greatly in talents, interests, or personalities, but everyone can change and grow in every aspect through application and experience. It’s very common for us to be somewhere in the middle, and to lean a certain way in one area of life, and a different way in other areas. Our mindset likely varies from area to area and our views may be different for talent, creativity, intelligence and personality.
We can change our mindset if we understand that having a fixed mindset leads to avoiding taking a chance on new ideas, but if we work on building our growth mindsets, we can start to work our way around this problem and explore new things that will expand our knowledge as well as our talent. The result from all of this is the fact that talent is something that can be developed, in other words, it doesn’t mean that we are either creative and innovative or we are not. We can build these skills and we develop talent by building skills.
Human qualities like intelligence and creativity, and relational capacities like friendship and love, can be cultivated through effort and constant practice and this reflects the differences in the attitudes towards effort in the two mindsets. With a fixed mindset, having to work hard at something is a sign of failing, but with a growth mindset, hard work is the only way we can grow. No matter what we work on, as long as we give it our all, we will gain from it; no matter how difficult the job is, we can discover something new and move forward, even if it’s just a step forward. If we don’t do this, we cannot make use of our abilities when a really important job comes along.
Innovation is based on talent. It’s true that with skilled people any company can innovate well, but if a person has the right mindset, they can build the talent that can help the company grow to a higher level. Of course, there are no shortcuts, to innovate we must practice, learn and improve. That’s how we develop our talent and therefore, in our case, how we improve our software.