The 2015 Calendar! Please mark your calendars for these must-attend events!
Today is the final day to register for the WICA 2015 Pacific Northwest Golf Tournament at the beautiful Washington National Golf Club, located in Auburn, Washington. Join us on this world-class golf course Friday, July 10th beginning with a 7:30am shotgun start followed by lunch and awards ceremony. Registration fees are $125 per member and $175 per non-member which include participation in the tournament, greens fee, cart, and a lunch to be served following the tournament. Sponsorships are also available for $200 per hole for members and $250 per hole for non-members. To register online click here or download the registration form here.
Registration for the WICA 2015 Fishing Derby will close on Friday, July, 24. Come cast your line on the beautiful Columbia River for two days of fishing on August 14th and 15th. The registration fee of $520 for this two-day event includes guides, equipment, food, beverage, and gratuity for both days. Additionally, Johns Manville and Insul-Therm International, Inc. will be sponsoring prizes for various categories totaling over $1,300, so be sure to bring your “A-Game.”
Curt Holdt has graciously opened his Ilwaco home on the coast to those participating in this event. There will be a barbecue and cocktail party each day at the home, and guests can arrive August 13th in the afternoon or August 14th after fishing. Rooms at the home are limited, so please contact Curt at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. A list of nearby accommodations for those not staying in the Holdt home can also be found on the registration form. There will only be eight boats of four to five people and registration will be accepted until the event is sold out, so be sure to secure your spot before they are gone! For more information and to register online click here or download the pdf registration form here.
Join us for the WICA 2015 Annual Convention. This year, the WICA 2015 Annual Convention will be held on September 20-22 in the alpine paradise of Incline Village, Nevada at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. WICA has negotiated a discounted room rate of $239 per night (plus taxes and fees) at the Hyatt Regency for convention attendees. This year’s convention will feature speaker Gary Polain presenting seminars on good teamwork, leadership, influencing skills and more, as well as Jason Thomas presenting on Mechanical Insulation’s Key Estimator’s newest takeoff module VTO5. We will also devote an entire day’s worth of meetings to open industry discussion. Additionally, WICA will be hosting the Annual Convention Golf Tournament and a hike and lunch spouse program for all those wishing to attend. The deadline to register for the event, both with WICA and the hotel, is Tuesday, August 18th. Don’t delay in making your reservation because once the room block is sold out, we will do our best to accommodate additional reservation requests, but no guarantees can be made. For more details download a pdf copy Convention Packet here. To register for convention online, click here or download the pdf registration form here._READ_MORE
Does skill – and eventual achievement – result from an innate ability or from hard work, effort, and a burning desire to improve? Good question... and the way we answer it can make a huge impact in the degree to which we succeed, especially over the long term. And that’s why I love this take from Gregory Ciotti, a Customer Champion at HelpScout.
When I was a substitute teacher, perhaps nothing disappointed me as much when one young girl said: “Girls aren’t good at math like boys are.” I was totally disheartened to think that even at a young age, some children thought abilities in subjects like mathematics were already defined as innate.
Of course I wasn't alone in my concern; psychologist Dr. Grant Halvorson has published excellent essays like The Trouble With Bright Girls, where she addresses how this “fixed mindset” sets students up for failure:
“Bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up—and the higher the girls’ IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel.
“Researchers have uncovered the reason for this … bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice.”
But the problem goes much deeper. Although Halvorson points out that young girls may be especially susceptible, all people, young and old, are at risk of succumbing to a fixed mindset. We often persuade ourselves into thinking that we need to have established talent and confidence before we can accomplish something. The reality is that small accomplishments lead to confidence -- and that talent is often overrated. This sort of thinking aligns with the “growth mindset,” a concept Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford discusses in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
The first step to getting the things you want is to believe you deserve them. Far from a trivial platitude, this sort of thinking actually closely mirrors what modern psychology depicts in how our beliefs influence our behavior. Dr. Dweck’s studies posit that there are two basic mindsets that control how most people see themselves.
Those with a “fixed mindset” assume intelligence, character, and creative potential are unchangeable attributes writ in stone since birth — that they cannot be modified in any meaningful way. They further assume that success is simply a result of this inherent talent, and as a result, they often avoid failure in order to maintain an aura of infallibility.
Those with a “growth mindset” have a much more malleable view on success. They do not view failure as a reflection of their ability, but rather as a starting point for experimentation and testing of ideas. Their main advantage is in treating unsuccessful attempts simply as another data point: “This didn’t work out, but I eliminated one option and will now pursue the next.”
How You See Yourself
Perhaps you’ve heard this premise before: “Praise your child for their effort, not for their intelligence.” It comes from papers like Praise for Intelligence Can Undermine Children’s Motivation and Performance, which conclusively show that reinforcing how smart a child is can be detrimental: they face obstacles differently than those children who were consistently praised for being hard workers. When you believe strongly in innate ability, any sort of initial friction creates a desire to give up before you embarrass yourself. Subjects who were praised for “effort” reacted by solving even more problems on the next trials; they improved as time went on. Those praised as “smart” kids often coast on their intelligence until they start facing real challenges. Once they do, they view their failure to breeze through these difficulties as a threat to their ego. This often leads to the avoidance of failure, keeping the “smart kid” persona intact.
As you might expect, this transfers over to adulthood. Dr. Dweck cautions us by stating just how powerful these underlying beliefs can be:
“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen?
“How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life? Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over.
“If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”
A body of research supports her claim, and we are now beginning to understand how this “fixed mindset” can insidiously sabotage how we see ourselves, which in turn affects our behavior and creative effort. And we can confidently say that you don’t need to worry about being a “math person” in order to succeed in math.
Where Talent Still Matters
The knee-jerk reaction to the “growth mindset” is often criticizing it by pointing out individuals who have clearly benefited from talent — as if anyone is claiming that talent isn’t an advantage. Of course it is. The thing to remember is that talent plays a smaller role than hard work for long-term success.
There are two ways in which talent truly matters.
1. As a head start. Talent is essentially a head start in the race to mastery — the good news is that any goal worth achieving is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Even large head starts leave an opening for those willing to work hard to pass you by, hence the saying: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
2. In edge cases. For the best of the best, talent matters more. I’m sure there are Olympic runners who work just as hard a Usain Bolt, but hard work won’t guarantee that you’ll be the fastest person ever. In these edge cases, talent adds that little something extra that takes them to the peak of performance.
The key takeaway from the literature on how we view our abilities is that it’s beneficial for everyone—young and old—to see their basic qualities, skills, and habits as things they can cultivate through extended effort. No one should ever try to claim that talent doesn’t matter at all, but we need to recognize that success is less dependent on the hand you are dealt and more dependent on how you play the hand.
Believing in Growth: Use Small Wins
The key to developing a growth mindset is to understand why “fake it until you make it” is actually quite effective — it results in small wins, which then lead to genuine confidence. That is exactly what you should do: focus on creating small wins through changing your habits. Make daily “micro quotas” (10 minutes of working out a day) that are so easy you can’t say no. In short, nail it then scale it.
Fitness serves as the perfect example, and I’m sure those of you who have introduced a friend to working out have seen this time and time again. Simply starting off small with a few push-ups at home, a few salads for weeknight dinners, and a few quick runs in the morning leads to a real increase in one’s confidence. Once you’ve nailed that it’s time to scale to tougher workouts, better eating habits, and a more consistent routine.
Over time, this creates a key trait in the growth mindset: a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Initial progress creates the desire to move forward. The innate mindset is what stops most people from starting (“I’m not a fit person…”), but the growth mindset will blossom after just a few small wins prove, “Hey, I can definitely do this!” It is a useful reminder that the things we want need to be claimed through personal growth. They aren’t a given for anyone.
You don’t receive an education. You claim it. You don’t receive athletic success. You claim it. You don’t receive mastery in your work. You claim it. If you want to improve in anything, start seeing mistakes and failures for what they are — the way you learn, and improve, and eventually succeed.