You’re being lied to. Constantly. Sometimes by yourself. We are all subject to an endless stream of misinformation about our constraints to our capabilities, and we receive this information so often that most of us have no other choice but to believe it. The problem is that these messages directly oppose your quest to become limitless.
According to Jim Kwik, there are 7 Limited Ideas Entertained (LIEs) in our minds that can stall us or steer us in a direction we don’t want. In the following posts, we will examine these LIEs, demystify the myths behind them and expose ourselves to the truth we should rather believe.
Intelligence is Fixed
Does this sound familiar? Somehow, many of us have grown up believing that intelligence is in the gene and if you didn’t get it from the gene, then there is nothing you can do about it. Other times, it comes in subtle ways where we believe that the reason a person excels academically is probably that he got it from his parents.
Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, describes the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, and their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that is that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never looked dumb whereas, in a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They do not necessarily think everyone’s the same or that anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
Many of us don’t think about whether we have a fixed or a growth mindset. Most of us have carried on thinking in the same patterns that our family and society did without even knowing it.
As subtle as this is, the adoption of one or the other deeply affects the way we approach life. A fixed mindset believes that things are the way they are and that we are powerless to change them. Whereas a growth mindset believes that we have the ability to improve anything.
Take Jim for example, if he had carried on with that limiting mindset, we won’t be reading his book, Limitless, Upgrade your Brain, Learn Anything Faster and Unlock your Exceptional Life, today. He urges us, in the same manner, to not stay on that limiting belief.
It will amaze you to know that only 1/3rd of our brain’s capacity is predetermined by genetics and biology, leaving the remaining 2/3rd entirely in our control.
What about IQ tests? Does it really measure our intelligence?
French psychologist Alfred Binet and his student Theodore Simon were some of the first scientists to come up with a test that measured intelligence after they were commissioned to do so for the French government and so IQ scores and testing were created in the early 1900s to better assess which students would experience the most difficulty in school. They were able to devise a test that took into consideration age as it related to competency. They were also lauded because the test was easily adaptable to other languages and cultures.
More than 100 years later, it’s still hotly debated whether these tests have the ability to measure intelligence, which is the ability to acquire and assimilate knowledge and information. Interestingly, Binet himself was not happy with the way his test was used because it didn’t measure creativity or emotional intelligence. Furthermore, our cultural understanding of these tests means we give these scores undue weight. We tend to think of IQ scores as a fixed reflection of our intelligence, but this isn’t the case.
The IQ test actually measures current academic capabilities, not innate intelligence. To this day, IQ tests still don’t measure creativity or practical intelligence and they certainly don’t measure emotional intelligence —all three of which are increasingly more important in the workplace and in life.
The important distinction here is to remember the difference between test scores and your ability to learn.
“Those who claim that IQ is fixed for life are in fact referring to our IQ test scores, which are relatively stable—not to our intelligence levels, which are constantly increasing,” says Bryan Roche of the National University of Ireland.
The truth is everyone has the potential for genius, or at the very least, greatness. But the reason we prefer to believe that we’re either a genius or we’re not, or that we’re either talented or not, is because it relieves us from the responsibility of taking control of our own life.
According to the Dictionary, Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills and according to Jim, your intelligence is not only malleable but dependent on your ability to cultivate a growth mindset.
Start looking at your attitude. Listen to the way you talk; a fixed mindset usually shows up in your language. Maybe you say to yourself, “I’m not good at reading.” This kind of statement implies that you believe this is a fixed situation and that your skills can’t be improved.
Instead, try saying something like “This is something I’m not good at yet.” This shift in language can be applied to anything you want to improve.
Know that test scores do not determine your future. They don’t determine what you’re truly capable of learning and accomplishing.
The fact that you get a D in a mathematics exam does not mean you are not good at mathematics or that you can never learn it. Many things could have been the reason for that.
Also, the fact that you got a C in English in your WAEC doesn’t mean you do not know English.
What matters most is not the test scores but your ability to learn.
The truth is: It is not how smart you are but rather, how you are smart.
Intelligence is a combination of attitudes and actions and is dependent on context.
New belief: Intelligence is fluid.