Library / Personal Development | Human Psychology

Date of review: September 2020
Book author: Carol Dweck
Вook published: 2017

Mindset: Changing the Way you Think to Fulfil your Potential by Carol Dweck (2017)

The author presents the concept of two key mindsets: growth and fixed. The idea is that you achieve most of your life due to having the right ('growth') mindset, while natural talent is less important.

Growth mindset seeks challenges as a way to learn and improve

A person with a growth mindset believes in his/her ability to develop skills and is more resilient. A person with a fixed mindset believes that he has a certain level of skills that limit his ultimate potential. Such  people rely on external praise as a confirmation of their skills which gives them confidence that they can succeed.

Often, people with a fixed mindset avoid challenges as they are afraid of failure, which would be a sign of them lacking certain skills. A growth mindset seeks challenges as a way to learn and improve.

The author provides a long list of different real-life situations as well as refers to well-known people in business and sports who had either a growth or fixed mindset. The book has useful suggestions to parents in using a growth mindset when raising kids, as well as some practical exercises.

One general advice is to try to judge less (yourself or others) and focus on development, progress, strategy.

Key notes

  • 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 look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.

  • You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it's not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

  • Wooden [legendary basketball coach] is not complicated. He's wise and interesting, but not complicated. He's just a straight-ahead growth-mindset guy who lives by this rule: 'You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better."  He didn't ask for mistake-free games. He didn't demand that his players never lose. He asked for full preparation and full effort from them. "Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?" If so, he says, "You may be outscored, but you will never lose."

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