Should You Follow Your Bliss?

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“Follow your bliss,” advised author and professor Joseph Campbell.  It became a mantra for a generation, but is now being mildly dissed by a soon-to-be-released Stanford study that suggests the premise might limit some to the idea of only possessing one passion and diminish curiosity in other areas.

At the heart of the discussion is a question of whether intelligence is static or fluid, whether an individual’s potential is set at birth or can be led to new heights with direction and effort.  Dr. Frances Stetson, founder of Houston education consulting firm Stetson & Associates, comes down firmly on the latter.  “I think we all have to follow our bliss, and when matched with the fact that the brain continues to learn and grow means we have unlimited potential,” Dr. Stetson tells NewsRadio 740 KTRH.

Study co-author Dr. Carol Dweck has done pioneering research in fixed/growth models of self-identification, and has found that those who see their intelligence as fixed are less inclined to challenge themselves to progress further for fear of failure, and those who believe in a potential for their minds to grow are more inclined to challenge themselves, even when faced with failure.  “The brain continues to learn throughout our lifetime.  The brain’s plasticity enables us to actually even create new pathways as we’re learning,’ says Dr. Stetson. Intelligence continues to grow over time, she says, and recommends online programs such as Lumosity, a brain-game website, to encourage brain-usage for recreation and lifelong advancement.

The Stanford study will be published in Psychological Science.

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