If my brain can be developed like a muscle

When I was 11, my Uncle Lawrence introduced me to read a book called "Brain Building in Just 12 Weeks" by Marilyn Savant. Uncle Lawrence was the first or the second person who went to college in my family. It was a big deal to go to college 30 years ago because there were only 2 universities in Hong Kong back then. Because of that, I took his recommendation seriously.

Uncle Lawrence said, "You should check out this book because I know you will like it." I went to the bookstore with Uncle Lawrence and found the book. Luckily it was a Chinese version. If not, I don't think I would understand anything. The book was quite pricey to an 11 year-old. It cost a week of my pocket money. So I asked if Uncle Lawrence could pay for half of it and he agreed.

A very neat idea that I learned from this book was that training my brain is like exercising. I did sit-ups in my PE lessons. And actually I could do exercises to make myself smarter too. Knowing the fact that I wasn't born with high IQ, I knew that I had to study harder to catch up.

Fast forward to today, I read an article "The Secret to Raising Smart Kid" in Scientific American. The writer, Carol Dweck, described two views of intelligence- "fixed mind-set" vs. "growth mind-set". People with fixed mind-set believed intelligence is a fixed trait and you have a certain amount and that's that. On the other hand, people with growth mind-set think intelligence is malleable and can be developed through intelligence and hard work. It turns out that children who received praises on their efforts do better in school than those who received compliments on their talents.

Looking back, I am thankful that Uncle Lawrence introduced me this "growth mind-set" indirectly. It assured me that even though intelligence could be innate, there are still a lot of skills and knowledge can be acquired by putting in enough efforts.