New Q Factor
DISCOVER WHAT KIND OF MINDSET YOU HAVE
First, please take a few moments to complete the following experiment. Using the first finger of your dominant hand, please trace the capital letter “Q” on your forehead. There are only two ways of doing this experiment. You can trace the letter “Q” on your forehead with the tail of Q toward your right eye or you draw it with the tail toward your left eye.
People who draw the letter Q with the tail slanting toward their left so that someone facing them can read it tend to focus to focus outwardly. Wiseman describes them as high self-monitors. Their primary concern is “looking good” and “looking smart.” They are concerned with how other people see them, are highly responsive to social cues and their situational context. Psychologist Carol Dweck describes such people as having a “fixed” mindset. Some of the characteristics of people with a fixed mindset are:
- They have a fixed mindset about their abilities and the abilities of others. E.g., all talent is innate and static. You are either born intelligent or you are not. They do not believe people can change and grow.
- They enjoy being the center of attention and adapt their actions to suit the situation. Ability is something inherent that needs to be demonstrated.
- They are also skilled at manipulating in the way others see them, which makes them good at deception and lying.
- They offer external attributions for failures. They are never personally responsible for mistakes or failures. To them, admitting you failed is tantamount to admitting you’re worthless.
- They are performance oriented and will only perform tasks that they are good at. For them, each task is a challenge to their self-image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor.
- From a fixed mindset perspective, if you have to work hard at something, or you learn it slowly, you aren’t good at it, and are not very smart. Performance is paramount they want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process.
People who draw the letter Q with the tail slanting toward the right so they can read it tend to focus inwardly. In contrast, low self-monitors come across as being the “same person” in different situations. Their behavior is guided more by their inner feelings and values, and they are less aware of their impact on those around them. They also tend to lie less in life, and so not be so skilled at deceit. “Carol Dweck would describe such people as having a “growth” mindset.
Among the characteristics of people with a growth mindset are:
- They tend to exhibit expressive controls congruent with their own internal states; i.e. beliefs, attitudes, and dispositions regardless of social circumstance.
- They are often less observant of social context and consider expressing a self-presentation dissimilar from their internal states as a falsehood and undesirable.
- They are generally oblivious to how other see them and hence march to their own different drum.
- They believe the brain is dynamic and develops over time by taking advantage of learning opportunities and overcoming adversity.
- They offer internal attributions to explain things by assigning causality to factors within the person. An internal explanation claims that the person was directly responsible for the event.
- They take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn.
- The growth mindset is associated with greater confidence, risk-taking, and higher academic and career success over time. Ability can be developed.
- High achievement comes from hard work, dedication and persistence to meet a goal.
“If you want to demonstrate something over and over, it feels like something static that lives inside of you—whereas if you want to increase your ability, it feels dynamic and malleable,” Carol Dweck explains. People with fixed mindsets think intelligence is fixed from birth. People with learning goals have a growth mind-set about intelligence, believing it can be developed.