It’s the beginning of a new school year and I can’t think of a better book to read and discuss than Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol Dweck! It has been on my list for awhile and I am loving it already. You can buy it HERE on amazon for super cheap!
Dweck states “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail-or if you’re not the best-it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful…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.”
So early on in the first chapter I was feeling pretty good. If the choice is between a fixed or a growth mindset, I would be team mindset for sure! I love to learn new things. The last time I sat in a class was last month. I can’t wait to go back to school full-time. I sometimes see backpacks and want to cry because I want to be a student again so bad! Forever! Also, I like to tell myself that stuff that seems out of my comfort zone is going to be super fun. I love having fun and I can convince myself that pretty much anything can be fun. Like I said, I was feeling pretty good about my mindset.
THEN Dweck talked about how we are all a mixture of both mindsets and how we can have different mindsets in different areas…and I started to see all the times that I have a fixed mindset. Dang it. I was kinda disappointed but then I got excited again to see what was possible if I could switch my mindset in the areas that need it. Who even knows what I will find down this rabbit hole of analyzing myself but here we go!
Dweck references this quote by Benjamin Barber: I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures…I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners. Dweck then states “What on earth would make someone a nonlearner? Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk. They never decide it’s too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. What could put an end to this exuberant learning? The fixed mindset. As soon as children become able to evaluate themselves, some of them become afraid of challenges. They become afraid of not being smart. I have studied thousands of people from preschoolers on, and its breathtaking how many reject an opportunity to learn.”
Ok one more quote…”Mindsets are an important part of your personality, but you can change them. Just by knowing about the two mindsets, you can start thinking and reacting in new ways. People tell me they start to catch themselves when they are in the throes of the fixed mindset-passing up a change for learning, feeling labeled by a failure, or getting discouraged when something requires a lot of effort. And then they switch themselves into growth mindset-making sure they take the challenge, learn from the failure, or continues their effort.”
I have definitely been more aware of my mindset just from having a couple chapters of knowledge from this book in my head! Chapter one has a few questions to answer to ascertain your general mindset. The beginning of a new school year seems like the perfect time to read, learn, and work on living life with a growth mindset. Dig in and enjoy!