Last week I started listening to Carol Dweck's book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. I have heard about it for quite a few years now. It is a favorite amongst International School Conference Speakers and its ideas pop up all over the place. Basically, her research has shown that we are often defined by our mindset and that really there are actually only two types. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset. You really want to be of growth mindset. Learning for learning's sake, unafraid of effort and challenges. With a fixed mindset you are confined by your inherent belief that this is all the potential and talent you have and thus resist challenges that could undermine these. Fixed mindsets resist doing things they are not good at, and where growth mindset people view failure as just another challenge in life, a set towards a goal, fixed mindsets see this as a reflection of their self worth and therefore failure taints their self image. Michael Jordan embodies growth while John McEnroe is of fixed.
Before actually reading the book, I was convinced I was the poster child for a growth mindset. Why, I enjoy studying, I thought. I'm open to new challenges and reinventing myself. Well, I was in for a mighty surprise. It seems according to the book I'm as fixed mindset as they come. A poster child for the inflexible and growth averse. There I was thinking I was pefectly in tune with growth and enrichment, when in fact the exact opposite is true.
When I spoke of this to my ever-loving wife, "Duh", she said, "I could have told you that without the help of any book". Seems as always I'm the last to know these things.
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