Ability to handle success lies in how you see yourself

November 29th, 2007 - 1:57 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Nov 29 (ANI): Too much of success can either take people places or end them up in shambles. A new research has suggested that a persons ability to handle success lies all in how they see themselves.

The study by Dr. Jason Plaks, a social psychologist at the University of Toronto and Kristin Stecher, a research scientist at the University of Washington, has shown that how people view their abilities in the workplace impacts how they respond to success.

They found that those who thought of their capabilities as fixed were more likely to become anxious and disoriented when faced with dramatic success, causing their subsequent performance to crash down, compared to those who thought of their abilities as changeable.

“People are driven to feel that they can predict and control their outcomes. So when their performance turns out to violate their predictions, this can be unnervingeven if the outcome is, objectively speaking, good news, Live Science quoted Dr. Plaks, as saying.

He added that the notion that people often sacrifice their success for the sake of greater certainty has some intuitive appeal but it has never been put to a thorough test.

In one representative study, Dr. Plaks and Stecher used a questionnaire to categorize participants into those who endorsed a fixed view of intelligence and those who endorsed a flexible view. Then participants took three versions of what was supposed to be an intelligence test. After the first test, all participants were given a lesson on how to improve their score. After the second test, participants were randomly assigned to be told that their performance had improved, stayed constant, or declined.

Among those who believed they had improved, those with the fixed view became more anxious and performed worse on the third test than those with the flexible view. However, among participants who believed that their performance had failed to improve, it was the flexible view participants who grew anxious and underperformed compared to their fixed view counterparts.

Talking about the workplace he said that flexible frames of mind could foster creativity, in that employees will be more likely to try new things and think outside of perceived personal limitations.

“Managers can create a workplace environment, a workplace culture, in which a malleable view of one’s abilities is encouraged. Rather than labeling the workers and putting them into their respective boxes, and kind of implying that that’s what you do and that’s the limit of your abilities, managers can create an atmosphere in which people are encouraged to try new things without necessarily fear of failure, he said.

Dr. Plaks noted that if people achieve an understanding of how they view their abilities, as fixed or changeable, then they can be aware of the advantages and pitfalls of both perspectives. This consecutively may better prepare them to adopt alternative theories to explain life’s ups and downs

The study findings were published in the October issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (ANI)

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