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Researchers reveal a new mindset that may be the key to success

Researchers reveal a new mindset that may be the key to success

Researchers have found that success requires less routine deployment of well-learned skills and more “thinking through” and “figuring out” of challenging new problems.

Researchers reveal a new mindset that may be the key to success

A new study by the National University of Singapore and Stanford University shows that one important psychological factor that may be key to success is a “strategic mindset.”

This research, led by Assistant Professor Patricia Chen from the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, shows that people with a strategic mindset are the ones who, in the face of challenges or setbacks, ask themselves: “How else can I do this? Is there a better way of doing this?” A strategic mindset is not just focused achieving a particular goal, but finding new and better ways to deal with challenges and more efficient ways of working towards a goal.

“These findings are exciting because psychological science has long known that having a wide repertoire of strategies matters. But until now, we hadn’t understood why some people use their strategies more than others at the right time. We developed our research on the strategic mindset to explain why this might be,” said Asst Prof Chen.

In more good news, the researchers also found that a strategic mindset can be taught. In an experiment, they randomly assigned some people to learn about a strategic mindset through a brief training session. Later, they gave these people a novel, challenging task to accomplish as quickly as possible. Compared to other people in the study who were not exposed to these strategic mindset ideas, those who had learnt about a strategic mindset later applied more effective strategies to accomplish the task. Their strategic behaviours, in turn, translated into faster task performance.

To explain how the strategic mindset works, co-author of the research Professor Carol Dweck from the Department of Psychology at Stanford University explained, “There are key points in any challenging pursuit that require people to step back and come up with new strategies. A strategic mindset helps them do just that.” Prof Chen says “As you approach whatever challenging goal you are pursuing, you can ask yourself, ‘What are things I can do to help myself (and others)? Is there a way to do this even better?’ If something you have been working on isn’t going so well, can you step back and ask yourself, ‘How might I go about this differently? Is there another approach I can try to help this go better?'”

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