Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My college age son recommended this book to my wife, but since she is not much on reading, I decided to give it a go. Personally I think he was trying to convey a certain message.
The main gist of this self help/psychology book is the juxtaposition between two different mindsets. The first mindset is called a fixed mind set. The second mindset is called the growth mindset. People with the first mindset see ability and talent as a fixed thing. You either got talent and ability or you don't. You are either smart or you are stupid. THe growth midst does not see the world in such black and white terms, rather it sees human potential and the psoobiblity of getting better. By putting in the effort we can learn things and become more more competent and better people.
Adopting mindsets has ramifications all the way though school, sports, the business world and parenting. Looking at the first mindset which indecates you are either born smart or you are not, we see that when people label themselves they do not open themselves up to the possibility for improvement or betterment. They tend to avoid challenges or things that might make them look stupid and they go for the easy tasks that make them look smart. If they pass or fail an assignment it is either because they have the abiloity or they don't. THe test is what defines the individual. Work is supposed to be effortless. After all if you are smart it should come easy.
THe growth mindset encourages individuals to seek out difficult challenges because it is through taking on challenges that helps you grow and become smarter. You performance does not indicate whether or not you have talent. It is a reflection of the effort you put into it in order to succeed. With this mindset you are open to improvement and betterment. If you bomb a test or an assignment then you need to study harder.
These mindsets play a role in the business world. Many failed businesses like Chrysler failed maybe in part due to the mind set of the company. THey believed that you had the talent or you you did not. They did not look for potential or growth. THe company execs also were smug and arrogant not listening to anyone but sycophants. Rank and file, position was everything. Iacoca only cared for his ego. Lou Gerstner of IBM took a different tack. He got to know the people , he listened to criticisms and he believed that individuals can change and grow.
In the sports world this could not be made any clearer.John McKnight, felt that if his team lost it was a reflection on him as a coach. If he lost it meant he was a terrible coach. Attitudes of this sort lead to emotional outbursts and abusive behavior towards the ball players he was coaching. John Wooden was the clear embodiment of the growth mindset. He approached th players he was coaching with a caring attitude and compassion. His coaching was not a teaching to be applied strictly the basketball court but rather it was also to be applied to life. Coach Wooden's attitude was that you are to dedicate yourself to be being better a little bit everyday.
Labels and praise are a definite trap if not used correctly. Every parent and educator knows you would never call a kid stupid or dumb as such a lable would depress them , lower their self esteem and then they would give up trying. Labeling a kid smart or brainy , although meant to bee positive could also have a limiting effect. If someone is perceived as smart they are less likely to accept challenges that might make them appear less than smart.they will do assignments off tasks that make them shine. So what should be praised. How about praising thee effort and hard work that went into it. Or praise the perservereence.
People with a fixed mindset find criticisms crushing. It means they are bad or not so good. SOmeone with a growth mindset will experience criticism as a way to move forwards and improve. I am going to strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better their life. remember we have to use our full potential in parenting, business, school and relationships and believe mee this book covers that.
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