A Growth Mindset Has Nothing to Do with IQ

By Corina Manea

They say attitude is everything.

If you want to succeed in your career, you need the right attitude.

If you want to land a client, you need the right attitude.

This goes for the negative stuff as well: With the wrong attitude you hit wall after wall after wall.

Attitude is Everything

Your attitude determines your days, your connections and friendships, your personal and professional success and, even, your failure.

Someone with the right attitude and state of mind, lights up a room and can change other people’s days and lives.

John C. Maxwell said,

People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.

Indeed, sir!

Think about it for a moment: How many times you’ve been to your favorite Starbucks shop and got back filled with positive energy from talking with an enthusiastic barista?

Now think about how many times you let the negative energy of your colleague who always has a reason to complain and ruin your day.

In both cases, it wasn’t because what they said, but about how they said it. You felt their attitude and it affected you.

These are not just some empty words. One of the country’s best-known research psychologists, Carol Dweck, spent her entire career studying attitude and performance. In her latest study she found that your attitude predicts your success better than your IQ.

Come again?!?

Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets

She found people’s attitudes are either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

In English, please.

People with a fixed mindset think they cannot change who they are, refusing to challenge themselves. Therefore every time they encounter a challenge, they feel hopeless, overwhelmed and stressed.

On the other hand, their counter parts with a growth set of mind see challenges as a means to improve themselves. They embrace change and challenges, they see them as opportunities to grow.

Guess what?

They outperform those with a fixed mindset even if their IQ is lower.


Because what they lack in IQ, they substitute with effort.

Now, that’s something to think about every time you start whining of not being able to do this or that.

And before you start thinking too hard in which of the two categories you fall, let me tell you, you can develop a growth mindset because it’s only up to you.

Three Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

  1. Be relentless. We have so many examples of people who simply refused to give up despite failure after failure. From Steve Jobs being fired from his own company, to Walt Disney being fired because he “lacked imagination,” to Gini Dietrich who didn’t hide when there was no money left in the bank account. No, she regrouped and found a better solution, hence Arment Dietrich today and this blog. Bottom line is believe in yourself no matter what. Believe in your work and never give up no matter how many times you fall. Get up in the ring again. Remember, you write your own history.
  2. Go do it. It’s fine to read motivational books and to listen to hundreds of hours of podcasts. But without action they are worthless. You know how you over exercise and the next day your body hurts all over the place (hello squats)? But, as soon as you start walking, at first with difficulties, it gets easier and easier, and in no time you feel like yourself again, only you feel better and more powerful. That’s how people with a growth mindset act when they face failure and uncertainty, and challenges. They embrace them and take action. Oh, did I mention that the more you do it, the easier it becomes, and you feel like a winner? Well, that too!
  3. Be consistent. Now all this sounds great, but it has no value if you don’t do it every single day. Challenge yourself every day and make a conscious effort to be a little better than you were the day before. Keep an open mind and adjust and adapt when challenges come your way. Having an open mind, helps you find solutions where others only see problems.

The Compound Effect

Make a deal with yourself to have the right attitude and state of mind every day, no matter what life throws at you.

Take small daily steps that bring you closer to your personal and professional goals.

And forget the naysayers and complainers. Have you seen a naysayer successful at anything other than complaining?

Me neither.

Focus, take action, and be consistent.

Now, if the above doesn’t convince you, think about what Herm Albright said

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Isn’t your day suddenly brighter?

The floor is now yours. Fire away.

Corina Manea

Corina Manea is the chief community officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She works directly with Spin Sucks students and writes for the award-winning PR blog. She also is the founder of NutsPR. Join the Spin Sucks  community!

View all posts by Corina Manea