‘What You Think, You Become’

UPDATED: May 25, 2019
PUBLISHED: July 2, 2015

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” Napoleon Hill once said. “The mind is everything. What you think, you become,” Buddha taught. You’ve heard high-minded quotes like these all your life. Now science has caught up. We can finally quantify and track how beliefs can shape outcomes.

Related: Napoleon Hill’s 17 Principles of Personal Achievement

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck found that some people have a “fixed mindset” and believe that they cannot change their capabilities. Other people have a “growth mindset.” The growers believe they can work toward improving themselves. Dweck and her colleagues studied 373 students and tracked their academic performance from the beginning of seventh grade through the end of the eighth. They found that those with a growth mindset think-I-can-think-I-can’d themselves to a rise in grade point average, while those with a fixed mindset remained the same.

It’s also been shown that if, before taking an IQ test, people read an article saying that IQ is changeable instead of fixed based on genes, their IQ scores improve.

This is one of the biggest tenets of my book The Happiness Advantage: Simply believing change is possible makes change possible.

What areas of your life do you need to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?

Related: It Takes a Positive Attitude to Achieve Positive Results




Shawn Achor is a Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Get a daily dose of happy at Shawn's Facebook page.