Growing Up I Always Assumed Intelligence Was A Fixed Trait
I did well in high school, but didn’t attribute it to hard work. Rather, I assumed I did well just because I was smart. My motivation wasn’t to learn, but rather to get good grades, proving to others that I was in fact ‘smart’. The thought was that good grades would lead to a high class rank allowing me to get into a good college and ultimately get a great job. I cared more about some artificial measure of intelligence rather than the actual knowledge itself
That Mentality Continued Into College
Except the difficulty level increased substantially. The idea that I was smart because I got good grades evaporated when I failed some tests. I didn’t care about learning and ended up cheating more than I care to admit to get by with decent grades.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
There’s an excellent book by Carol Dweck called Mindset. In it, she discusses how people with a fixed mindset consider intelligence or any other talent to be an inherent trait, where as a person with a growth mindset consider talents to be a result of hard work, good strategies, and feedback from others. I recognized the fixed mindset in myself and have been working since then to cultivate the growth mindset.
I Read A Biography About Elon Musk
This one. It’s a fascinating read. I learned that Musk had a strong physics background, but no formal engineering or computer science training. Despite that, he went on to found Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla. How you might ask? He’s self taught. When he founded SpaceX, he read a bunch books to learn the principles of rockets.
I’d Like To Reach That Level of Intelligence
That’s a conceited statement, akin to watching Lebron James and declaring that I’d like to get to that level of athleticism. A more realistic goal is to increase my knowledge base and become a self taught person, specifically in the subjects of Physics, Engineering, Business, and Computer Science. The end goal is to create cooler and more complex projects. I look at a company like Boston Dynamics building robots that can do back flips and think ‘how do I learn how to do that’?
The Game Plan
Fortunately, you no longer have to get into an elite college into order obtain that knowledge. Colleges like MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley offer all that information for free on the internet. These are fantastic resources, and I’d like to devote a more significant amount of my time to utilizing them. Goal #25 on my list is to complete one of these courses which will hopefully serve as a catalyst toward a lifetime of learning.