Mindset by Carol Dweck

“The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do.”

If you work in education, whether you are working with toddlers or doctoral students, chances are you are a proponent of growth mindset. It seems logical: if you work in a field that is all about developing people and their minds, you ought to believe in the ability to change, develop, mature, and so on. But what we say and what we do can be very, very different.

I fall into this trap of hypocrisy. I believe that education is valuable to all and everyone has opportunity to benefit but many times my actions or thoughts do not support this thinking. I judge people based on their experiences and not their potential. I have caught myself determining a student’s success based on weak assumptions. I even do this to myself. Countless times I have decided that I am not gifted at certain activities such as music, art, and math with minimal effort.

I think most educators would claim growth-mindset yet practice fixed mindset towards themselves and their students. 

In Dweck’s book, Mindset, she not only breaks down the science of mindsets but how this mentality can affect the aspects of our lives: work, relationships, parenting, and school. This book helped me shed an unbecoming light on my faulty thinking and how I can change them. Changing my mindset is a journey and not a one moment, one-day step.

There are many things in my life I am passionate about and I definitely have a growth-mindset in those areas. Bouncing off these activities can help me develop my outlook on every aspect of my life.

This is a great read. Another great installment in the library of positive psychology and peak performance.

Growth-mindset reminds me of this great quote from the venerable Conan O’Brien:

“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”