Let's face it - hearing the charge CARPE DIEM is the equivalent of hearing the doo-doo-doo of baby shark for the umpteenth time. It may have given you your groove the first few times (it's okay, admit it), but after a while even this ubiquitous up-and-at-'em phrase loses its fire. For me, a good quote is one that uplifts, resonates, and inspires. However, a GREAT quote is something that does all of that, and is rooted in truth - not just old wisdom, but scientific fact. This foundation of scientific methodology is what differentiates the field of positive psychology (also referred to as the science of well-being) is from your run of the mill self-help literature. In this Powerful Quote Series, I'll share my favorite quotes that fall under well-being topics like mindset, resilience, relationships, purpose, joy, etc. along with the science that bolsters them. If you have a favorite quote that you'd like to share or certain concept you'd like to explore, comment it below!
#1 "When you enter a new mindset, you enter a new world" - Carol Dweck
Just as words create worlds, your mindset influences how you lead your life. When we live a life inclined towards growth and curiosity, we're more likely to greet the inevitable challenges of life with a fascination and view them as opportunity to learn and put our problem-solving skills to the test. Within this growth mindset, the thought of failure isn't something to be feared but rather another data point in our journey of progress. This mindset contrasts with what psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck calls a fixed mindset, the belief that our qualities and attributes are permanent, rather than evolving. In contrast to a growth mindset, those with a fixed mindset fear and avoid failure at all costs because those failures are viewed as personal short comings, rather than a growing pain. This self-judgement stifles our ability to learn and grow and undercuts our well-being, our experience of being human. The good news is that you can foster a mindset inclined to growth and embracing uncertainty and failure. By consistently practicing self-awareness and surrounding yourself with those who model that mindset, you can drive this perspective shift and infuse your life with enhanced sense of self-efficacy, hope, and resilience.
#2 Talent Counts, but Effort Counts Twice" - Angela Duckworth
For those of us that were never the first pick for the kickball team (guilty), Dr. Angela Duckworth's findings are a particularly salient vote for the "try, try, then try it again" method. It's human nature to love the success story of the musical prodigy who composed Mozart-like symphonies at age 5, but there's also a key finding that Dr. Duckworth puts forth in this quote. Skill = talent x effort. Becoming skilled at something - whether it be cooking, knitting, public speaking - talent is only one part of the equation and only gets you so far. There's a famous statistic that's often thrown around when talking about expertise - that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master in your chosen art. However, if I spent 10,000 hours sitting next to a paintbrush and easel, I am 100% not going to emerge like Picasso, even if I do have a natural talent. It's the deliberate effort that makes all the difference. It's the unsung hero of skill-building, but a reminder that with a little hard work, we can truly do anything we put our minds to.
#3 "Say Yes to the Mess" - Frank Barrett
Mr. Barrett may not be a positive psychology practitioner (he is, in fact, a jazz pianist and author of Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz) but his idea of welcoming whatever life throws your way is rooted in the concepts of self-efficacy, flexibility and acceptance, all of which impact our well-being. Self-efficacy is the belief in ourselves to bring about a desired outcome in a given situation. Self-efficacy acts as a prerequisite to our sense of competency, which psychologists consider one of our most basic psychological needs as human beings. It's this sense of "I can do it!" in addition to our mental agility and acceptance that give rise to resilience and optimism - two protective factors that act as buoys for our well-being when faced with hardship.
There is something powerful about inspiration that is rooted in truth. I'm often struck by ability of my fellow positive psychology practitioners that beautifully craft the words to encapsulate their science. And very often, I've found that wise words - such as those written by Mr. Barrett - not only resonate, but echo the findings of the field. Such is the magic of a field of positive psychology - it infuses the scientific methodology into many of the wise words passed through generations. And how fascinating it can be to see how right they were, all along.