Ellen Hochschwender, Grant Manager

Can we become more talented or are some people just born that way? Do we have the power to feel better and work better? Do we have the power to become better people or better employees? 

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

According to research on achievement and success by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, people tend to embrace one of two mental approaches to talent. People with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence, ability, and skill are static or “fixed”; that we are what we are. You might hear these people say things like “Math is not my thing.”

People with a growth mindset believe that we can develop and improve our skills and abilities.  They would say, “Let me try one more time. I think I can get it.”

Olympic skier Lyndsey Vonn clearly has a growth mindset, which contributes to her extraordinary resilience, handling the insane pressure of world-class competition and climbing her way back to the top after accidents, injuries, and setbacks. In a recent interview with Adam Grant, Wharton professor author (with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg) of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, Vonn said: “I don’t mind the mistakes. Failures are the new challenges – they make me more excited to go back out there because I did something wrong and I know I can fix it.”

IQ vs. EQ

Your IQ is stable throughout your life, the same at age 15 and age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and co-founder of TalentSmart, makes the point that IQ can be enhanced by emotional intelligence, for example, you can improve your grades in school (IQ)  if you have the self-awareness (EQ) to ask the teacher for help.

EQ reflects a person’s ability to empathize with others, to “identify, evaluate, control and express one’s own emotions; perceive, and assess others’ emotions; use emotions to facilitate thinking, understand emotional meanings.”

“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says theorist Howard Gardner, the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. You can test your EQ here.

The Mission of Frameworks

That’s what I find so exciting about the mission of Frameworks. Its programs are grounded in, in a dynamic vision of the future in which all students have the potential – and through Frameworks, the opportunity – to develop and improve their social and emotional learning skills, to become more empathetic, to make better decisions, to enhance self- and social awareness, build healthy and strong relationships.

This hopeful point of view is supported by a large body of research which informs the evidence-based SEL programming offered by Frameworks.

SEL skills training can offset the impact of accidents of birth and zip code that play such a powerful role in determining the future trajectory of our lives. SEL programs like those offered by Frameworks equip all students with SEL skills that are essential for success at school, at work and in our personal relationships, which levels the playing field for education, employment and each person’s emotional well-being.

Employability Skills

U.S. competitiveness in the global economy depends on a workforce with both the technical knowledge needed for specific occupations and the “employability skills” required for all jobs. Of the ten skills employers are looking for in graduates, the top four were: ability to work in a team, solve problems, make decisions and communicate effectively. (Forbes, 2015)

In 2014, the National Network of Business and Industry Association identified four categories of skills needed for workers to be employable, three of which align directly with SEL competencies: personal skills, people skills, and workplace skills.

A recent survey reported that 98% of CEOs have problems finding candidates with the competencies and training to fill open positions at all skill levels. (Business Roundtable/Change the Equation)

According to Manpower, a worldwide staffing agency, 31% of employers globally find it difficult to find qualified workers because of “a talent mismatch between workers’ qualifications and the specific skill sets and combinations of skills employers want.”

We CAN become more adept at accepting and expressing our emotions, becoming healthier and happier students, adults, coworkers, family members and friends. We CAN “feel better.”