We have often heard that our beliefs build our character. Our beliefs systems lead us to our thoughts and our thoughts to our actions. Repeated actions build our character.

Last evening, I asked my 9-year-old daughter to run a quick errand from the supermarket in our society. In a few minutes she was back. When she went she looked a little dull, tired but on her return – there was a hop and a skip and a little twinkle in her eyes. I knew something had happened but didn’t want to immediately question her.

In the night, while tucking her to sleep, she confessed. She had bought a chocolate and eaten it. She was looking into my eyes, worried that I might scold her. And this is what I said to her – At every corner of the road, there will be temptations – today chocolates, tomorrow – something else. It’s easy to enjoy the moment. But your true test of strength is when you control your immediate reaction to a temptation. You are what you believe. If you think you are strong and that you can control your mind – you can.

She took one long hard look at me and asked – ” Mama, Am I Strong? “. And I said – “yes you are strong”

We hold many beliefs about ourselves. Maybe you believe you’re a good friend, a critical thinker, and an average cook. Recent research explores how our beliefs can influence real-life outcomes.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck researched how having a belief on growth mindset (the belief that you can increase your intellectual abilities through hard work and practice) — may improve learning outcomes and academic performance.

Professor Dweck’s team surveyed New York City 7th graders, and sought to change the mindsets of a group of low-achieving middle schoolers. 91 students took a short course on brain physiology and study skills. Among these students, a test group also studied how intelligence is malleable, while a control group did not.

The student’s mindsets and their grades showed the difference. Student responses to an end-of-year survey indicated that the test group had shifted towards more of a growth mindset.

This change correlated to significant improvements in math grades, whereas the control showed no change in grades or mindset.

What could explain these striking results? Imagine you believe you’re a shaky storyteller and always will be. When a friend prompts you to tell a story, this belief may cause you to rush and rarely experiment with jokes or delightful details. Your mindset may prevent you from building your story-telling skills long-term.

What’s your belief?

Research on beliefs reminds us that what we believe about ourselves isn’t just in our heads: it impacts our actions and accomplishments – how we face challenges and reach our goals.

We are planning to run a test using our game based assessment and map it to individual beliefs. If you are keen to participate in this study, do write in to smita@ableventures.in