I have gotten started on re-reading "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" which is our current Book of the Moment. The subject of the book is about us humans having different mindsets, a fixed mindset, or a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset tend to believe that their own abilities and intelligence is a fixed quantity that you're just born with and that's just the way it is. Whereas with a growth mindset people tend to believe that they can have influence on their own abilities and intelligence and change it themselves.
Here's a fun little questionnaire from the book:
Which mindset do you have? Answer these questions about intelligence. Read each statement and decide whether you mostly agree with it or disagree with it.
1) Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can't change very much.
2) You can learn new things, but you can't really change how intelligent you are.
3) No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
4) You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.
Questions 1 and 2 are the fixed-mindset questions. Questions 3 and 4 reflect the growth mindset. Which mindset did you agree with more? You can be a mixture, but most people lean toward on or the other.
You also have beliefs about other abilities. You could substitute "artistic talent", "sports ability", or "business skill" for "intelligence." Try it.
Hmmm... I'm not reading the book, so I've only got your post to go on, but this seems to be mixing apples and oranges rather simplistically. AFAIK, "intelligence" is still almost as vague a concept as it was when Alfred Binet invented the first intelligence test (he believed intelligence was malleable and developed at different rates in children, for example). On the other hand there also seems to be some inherited element to intellectual ability as well, so who knows? And most "intelligence" tests actually test reasoning rather than learning anyway.
1) Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can't change very much: Possibly - who knows? 2) You can learn new things, but you can't really change how intelligent you are: I can certainly learn new things, but that's not necessarily what "intelligence" means. 3) No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit: Depends on (1) above - if "intelligence" is about learning, then see (2). 4) You can always substantially change how intelligent you are: Same question as (3), so same answer.
So I have literally no idea which "mindset" I am. Maybe I've read too many books on cognitive science. Or maybe I'm just not smart enough!
As a thought experiment, let's replace "intelligence" in that extract with something else. How about "height"? Or "weight"? It's pretty clear that it's possible to change your weight, and it's pretty clear that it isn't possible to change your height. So is intelligence more like height or more like weight?
And is there anybody who actually has the "fixed mindset" who believes that no matter what they do they can't reduce the time it takes them to run a kilometer?
In fact I do believe it's possible to substantially change one's intelligence. Usually drinking a dozen bottles of beer is sufficient to do that.
But keep us posted as you go through the book. Maybe it gets better.
For a long time intelligence was considered to be something that is essentially invariant over most of one's lifetime, barring organic damage to the brain. Even being intoxicated doesn't literally change intelligence, it just messes up one's critical thinking skills.
More recently there have been those who support the idea that intelligence can change, but not by a significant amount.
On the other hand, there are definite indications that one's mental acuity can be enhanced and preserved by keeping one's brain exercised. Just as one can let one's muscles atrophy or build them up.
Loudly announcing something is true and finding out you're wrong makes you feel foolish.
Finding out you're wrong and refusing to admit it makes you LOOK foolish.