On Entity Theorists and Incremental Theorists

This week’s book learning is from ‘9 Things Successful People Do Differently’ by Heidi Halvorson-

Behavioural research has identified that we explain excellence and performance in two ways. Entity theorists believe abilities is fixed while incremental theorists believe abilities are malleable.

The easy test is to see what you blame when you have a hard time? Typical reactions are –

Entity theorist: “I must not be good at it.”

Incremental theorist: “That result is thanks to insufficient effort/bad strategy/poor planning. If I fix these, improvement is possible.”

Studies have proven 2 things –

1. Incremental theorists are absolutely right. Evidence has show that the key to success is deliberate practice i.e. 1000s of hours spent mastering skills.

2. These are CHOICES! We aren’t born predisposed to one way of thinking.

Do you believe your musical ability is fixed?
Image source

The impact of this choice is staggering – if we approach a new skill (e.g. music or painting) believing like an entity theorist does, we would actually find improvement anxiety provoking because we believe it shouldn’t be possible! More on this next week..

Here’s to “incremental thinking” this week!