By: Carol Dweck

Mindset highlights the differences between a fixed and a growth mindset. Why one is superior to the other, and how to adopt the correct mindset.

This book explained the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Having these mindsets in different aspects of our lives is also learned in this book.

Carol Dweck’s decades of research tell us that we can change the way we think to fulfill our potential. It’s not just our talent and abilities that bring us success – but whether we utilize a fixed or growth mindset.

Mindset is the basis of accomplishment. Great parents, teachers, CEOs, athletes already know this.


The Two Mindsets

Fixed Mindset:

People with fixed mindsets believe intelligence can’t be changed. They always desire to look smart and don’t want to look bad if they fail so these people avoid challenges. They give up easily and don’t face challenges. They believe that great people are born naturally so making effort for them is pointless. People with a fixed mindset ignore constructive criticism thrown at them. Other people’s success threatened them. These people achieve less than they are capable of.


Growth Mindset:

People with a growth mindset believe intelligence can be developed. They love learning that is why if challenges face them, they embrace it. In the face of hardships, they keep going. They give their all efforts because they see this as their path to mastery. They take constructive criticism by heart and utilize it to their advantage. Whenever they see people winning and being successful, they are inspired. It pushes them to work hard. All these mindsets result in fulfilling their ultimate potential.


The Mindset in Different Aspects of Life


The Mindset in Sports:

People who were born naturally good at sports mostly develop a fixed mindset. This leads them to not working really hard and believing that with less effort. They think they are still great at what they’re doing. But people born that wasn’t natural are the ones who work hard and are disciplined. The growth mindset leads them to their success and maintains it in a long term. Carol found out how athletes find success. That is in doing their best in learning and improving. They see setbacks as motivation and take the process that brings them success.


The Mindset in Business:

There are these two famous examples of how a mindset can turn your company around. Lee Iacocca, who ran Chrysler, and Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM.

Both came in at a time when their firms were in dire straits and successfully turned them around. What makes the difference is what transpired after that.

Iacocca got smug. He claimed credit for everything. He surrounded himself with worshippers. And he was more concerned with his own image than with the company. To compensate for his low self-esteem, he sought praise from others. This drove him to make poor decisions. He ignored falling sales and even sacked innovative designers. These things contributed to the company’s downfall.

Internal disputes at IBM didn’t promote teamwork or customer service, according to Gerstner. As a result, he dissolved outdated hierarchies. He even put himself on the level of an employee to interact effectively. He demonstrated an actual growth mindset. This is by focusing on teamwork and learning from previous errors. This all resulted in the success of IBM.


The Mindset in Relationships:

There are two common ways of dealing with heartbreaks and relationships. The first one is the people who have a fixed mindset who think that they are unlovable and seek revenge. They let their experiences scar them. And this prevents them from searching for new relationships. People with a growth mindset are understanding, forgiving, and focused on moving on. They may be deeply hurt by the negative experiences. But their mindset is what can they learn from those.

In a relationship, qualities can be developed. These are your qualities, your partner’s qualities, and the relationship’s qualities. There’s this saying that, “If you have to work for it, it wasn’t meant to be.” But the truth is, all relationships need Work and Effort. You can’t expect your partner to know your needs. Especially if you weren’t communicating effectively. They romanticize the idea of a perfect, problem-free relationship. Relationships that automatically work are unrealistic.

Another way of thinking about the relationship is that “Problem indicates character flaws.” People always blame their relationship problems on their partners. They assign the blame to a character flaw. They think that their partner is just an angry person, but the real problem is the situation and not the person. A solution can be found by effectively communicating with one another.

Your partner may have different skills, beliefs, and values. Here is how people with a growth mindset approach this. That is by helping your partner to reach their own goal and fulfill their potential.


The Mindset in Parenting and Teaching

How do children think about themselves? That is based on how their parents and teachers approach them and give them messages. It has a great effect on their learning and development. Every time you interact with a child, ask yourself if you’re giving them a Fixed Mindset message. That they have permanent traits and you’re judging them. Or are you communicating with a growth mindset message? And that says they are a developing person and you are interested in their development.

Another critical lesson is to not praise children’s intelligence. You might say that they learned quickly and that they are smart. They might have misunderstood it and think that if they don’t learn quickly, they are not smart. Or you say, “You’re so brilliant, you got an A without even studying!” What they might hear is they better quit studying or people won’t think they’re brilliant.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t praise your children. What you should praise about them are their effort and choices. You must not praise intelligence and talent.


Developing Growth Mindset and Getting Rid of Fixed Mindset

The brain functions similarly to a muscle. Through repetition, we can train it over time. As a result, each of us can adopt a Growth Mindset. That could be by educating ourselves to think in this way on a regular basis. It is not easy to break out of a Fixed Mindset. And this behavior is the one we developed to guard us against emotional failure, but we all have a chance. It would be naïve to believe that effort is the only factor that determines success. The effort is important, which is why people with a Growth Mindset have a better chance of succeeding. So the best thing to do would be practicing ourselves, one step at a time, as these steps will lead to a Growth Mindset.

About the Author

Image Source: South China Morning Post

  • Carol Susan Dweck (born October 17, 1946) is an American psychologist. She is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
  • Known for her work Mindset.
  • In her sixth grade class at P.S. 153 in Brooklyn, New York, students were seated in order of their IQ. Students with the highest IQ scores could erase the blackboard. They can carry the flag, or take a note to the principal’s office. She said in a 2015 interview: “On the one hand, I didn’t believe that a score on a test was that important; on the other hand, every student wants to succeed in the framework that’s established. So looking back, I think that glorification of IQ was a pivotal point of my development.”
  • Dweck’s first job after graduating was at the University of Illinois (1972–1981).
  • She then joined Harvard’s Laboratory of Human Development (1981–1985). She returned to Illinois as a full professor (1985–1989).
  • She moved to Columbia University as the William B. Ransford Professor of Psychology. This was in 1989.
  • Since 2004 she has been the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
  • Dweck has primary research interests in motivation personality and development. She teaches courses in motivation, personality, and social development.
  • Her key contribution to social psychology relates to implicit theories of intelligence. This was described in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
  • Dweck has held the position of Professor of Psychology at Stanford University since 2004. She was teaching developmental psychology, self theories, and independent studies.
  • In 2017, she stated, “I am now developing a broad theory that puts motivation and the formation of mindsets (or beliefs) at the heart of social and personality development.”
  • Critics have said that Dweck’s research can be difficult to replicate. In an opinion piece published in The Spectator, the journalist Toby Young stated that:
  • Timothy Bates, a psychology professor at the University of Edinburgh, has been trying for several years to replicate Dweck’s findings. Each time without success and his colleagues haven’t been able to either.
  • Dweck was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. And also to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012.
  • She received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association in 2011.
  • On September 19, 2017, the Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize Foundation named Dweck one of two inaugural laureates. She was to be awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Research, citing her mindset work. The prize includes a receipt of approximately US$3.9 million. It was divided equally between a cash prize and project funding.
  • Dweck is married to David Goldman. He is a national theatre director and critic and the founder and director of the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University.

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Books by the Author

  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  • Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development
  • Personal Politics: The Psychology of Making It
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman & Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential By Dr Carol Dweck 2 Books Collection Set
  • Courage To Be Disliked, The Road Back to You, Mindset 3 Books Collection Set
  • Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching
  • Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
  • Why We Cooperate (Boston Review Books)
  • The Secret to Raising Smart Kids – Hint Don’t tell
  • Handbook of Competence and Motivation, First Edition
  • Why We Sleep, Mindset Carol Dweck, Incognito The Secret Lives of The Brain 3 Books Collection Set
  • Atomic Habits, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Mindset, The One Thing 4 Books Collection Set
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers, On Grief and Grieving, Mindset Carol Dweck, The Art of Happiness 10th Anniversary Edition 4 Books Collection Set
  • Dare to Lead / Mindset / Drive
  • Getting Things Done for Teens, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Mindset Carol Dweck, Positively Teenage 4 Books Collection Set

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