Ken Bain recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal on July 13 that some people think your intelligence stops at a certain level for the remainder of your life. Others find ways to keep growing their intelligence. He goes on to discuss different studies that show it is possible to go beyond challenges and failures to continue to growing their brains.
The profound, but simple truth is that we can choose to wire and re-wire our brains to respond to the world in a myriad of ways.
Choosing between "I can do this" or "I can’t do this" will completely dictate whether one will go in one direction or another. “Can’t” automatically shuts off all possibilities that stem from one direction. "I’ll try my best" or "I’m going to succeed no matter what" keeps open the possibility of success.
As an adult, how many “cannots” do you use in your life?
• You can’t because you have no time
• You can’t because you have no money
• You can’t because you have kids
• You can’t because you can’t change your schedule
• You can’t because you are too old
• You can’t because your spouse will disagree with you
• You can’t because you’re lazy
• You can’t because you’re not confident
If a person chooses to be dominated by what they can’t do, they’ll never get anywhere more personally satisfying or meaningful to them. They never try to make changes to their life in order for their life to change. They’ll never gain the confidence that comes from overcoming greater challenges.
Bain writes: "Most of the students went into the sessions generally believing that intelligence was fixed for life, but the group that read about the brain's growth emerged from the experience with much stronger notions about improving intelligence with effort. That group generally showed greater motivation to do well in math class in the weeks and months after the experience."
You can choose to be teachable or not teachable. The brain will grow if fostered. It’ll die if left unused. The same is true for any aspect of your life.
As someone once said, "If you believe you can or if you believe you can't, either way you're right."