Imagine a country where a king ruled. Now imagine the king died. Who becomes the new king?
The prince of course!
But let me ask you this: Why does the prince have to grow up and become the new king? Why not someone else?
That question instantly exposes the way our society used to think.
As a society, we used to believe in the concept of the “true born” or that some people were born truer (better) than others. It was in their blood somehow.
This is the concept that made us think that a prince deserved to rule, because of his blood.
This is why they couldn’t marry with people of a lower class, because it would taint the blood and destroy the purity of the trueborn.
This is a concept where humanity grows weaker. There’s a deep innate assumption that our very first ancestors were the best, the strongest. And as the years pass by, we grow weaker and weaker as we mix and lose our pure breeding.
Yup, like dogs and horses. Apparently pure breeds are the best?
Somewhere along the way though, we started believing in a different idea. The idea of evolution.
Evolution across generations
Somewhere along the way, we found a new concept to embrace, the concept that we’re actually becoming better as we mature, not worse.
We embraced a concept where we aren’t born with any ability. Rather, we actually have to learn it ourselves. Are you born knowing how to rule? Or do you learn how to do it? This concept say that you learn how to do it.
In fact, the reason a prince knows how to rule is because his parents taught him. Not because of his blood.
Nature or nurture?
This is the heart of the question that asks you, “are you born like that and stuck as a prince or peasant forever? Or can you grow and become better?”
According to the first belief, you’re born to be king. Or you’re born with the talent to play the piano. Or you’re born being good at math.
Based on the second belief, you’re born with nothing. You grow into it. You learn how to do it.
Which one is true?
Evolution within a generation
It turns out that it doesn’t really matter. We don’t really care which one is true. What does matter however, is which one can help us in our daily life. We want to evolve and become better within our generation. We want to succeed within our lifetime.
It turns out that if you want to be successful, you have to become better than you already are! (Ok, I guess that’s not so surprising).
What is surprising though, is that your mentality can hold you back.
If you believe in the concept of evolution or nurture or growth or whatever you want to call it, you have a much better chance of actually growing.
In fact, there’s a bunch of scientific research that proves it.
Two different mindsets
Look up Carol Dweck. She wrote a book called “Mindset”. In it, she explores something very simple but very profound. She looks at two different mindsets that people have, and which group is more successful.
She looked at a bunch of kids and found that those who believed in “talent” usually did much worse when they grew up!!!
What was happening here?!! It turns out it was the 2 mindsets at work. The fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
First, let’s look at the fixed mindset.
The fixed mindset
The fixed mindset follows the path of the trueborn. These are people who live their lives feeling that they have only a fixed amount of “talent” or “potential”.
When people with fixed mindsets did something, they might succeed or fail. If they succeeded, it would be because of their innate “talent”. They’d enjoy it, but they wouldn’t really bother practising it to make it better. After all, it’s their talent right? They were born like that. Why work hard at it?
But if they failed? If they failed, they would rationalize that they never had the talent for it. After all, you can’t be talented in everything right? So therefore they never train it anymore.
Either way, they never practice much.
This is their mindset.
A mindset where their ability is fixed from birth, and they can never go beyond it.
What a shame.
The growth mindset
The growth mindset follows the path of evolution. It’s the idea that you are not limited by your birth. You don’t have talent. No one does. Your skills come from you learning them.
This mindset, whether true or not, leads to a startlingly different behaviour.
When people with growth mindsets succeed at something, they say that it’s because they practised enough. And that gives them motivation to practice even more.
And when they fail? When they fail, they rationalize that they didn’t practice enough, or that they practised wrong. If they still want to learn that skill, they’ll just work harder at it.
Either way, they train.
This difference in behaviour is what we’re looking for.
The kings that are made
So we find that the mindset of the trueborn is an old way of thinking that limits us. If we believe we are limited by our birth, this mindset is what holds us back.
The mindset of evolution is what should push us forward, always looking for ways to grow. When you start believing that you have talent in any area, be careful. This is where arrogance sets in quietly, settlng into your bones.
Before long, you’ll have stopped training, and you’ll suddenly realize that you’re failing.
And the worst part?
The worst part is that you won’t even try to do more, because you think that’s as far as your talent can take you.
Kings are made, not born.