I just read a study by Carol S. Dweck entitled, “Can Personality Be Changed? The Role of Beliefs in Personality and Change.” This study is about how changing your beliefs can change your personality, your education and insecurities. In this study Dweck used her personality “manipulation” to motivate students and give them the tools to eliminate their doubts and insecurities in order to excel in school. The key to this is to teach them their intelligence is malleable and not fixed. The malleable theory is the belief that you can mold your personality through education and experiences.
I also read one of Bob Sutton’s blogs entitled, “Work Matters.” In this blog, Sutton refers to Dweck’s study on changing personality and uses it to explain how smart people quit learning and dumb people keep on learning, if they try. In these two writings they illustrate when someone is motivated and taught that they can learn, they learn.
Sutton believes that smart people often quit learning because they stop pushing themselves. They worked hard through out their education to work in a job that is easy to them, so their brain begins to shut down and they quit learning. Where as a dumber person will work hard and push himself to be the best, he will end up learning through out his life.
The other part of Dweck’s study was about being able to manipulate someone’s personality is a very powerful tool managers can use to get the best out of their employees. Teaching people expectations of social acceptance is something not only your company will appreciate but also the person you are able to teach it to.