In Mindset - The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck identifies two types of predominant patterns of thinking in our culture: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. While these ideas are difficult to define succinctly, here are some examples of thinking from each type:
Fixed Mindset - Your level of intelligence is very basic and cannot be changed much. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can't really be changed.
Growth Mindset - You can always change how intelligent you are, and you can change basic things about the kind of person you are.
"In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented."
Dweck then discusses the intricacies of the different mindsets, with real-life examples in chapters that cover major areas of our lives: achievement, athletics, leadership/work, relationships, parenting/teaching/mentoring, etc.
Fixed mindset thinking involves the need to prove one's self. Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or stupid? As you can imagine, this is a dangerous pattern that limits our happiness and creativity. Dweck provides a segment at the end of each chapter called Grow Your Mindset containing bullet point tips for adopting a growth mindset in the areas discussed in that chapter. She shows how a growth mindset translates to belief in effort, new definitions for success, and resilience in the face of setbacks. Those sound like things that we all need!
A small paperback with roughly 240 pages, this book is a quick read with lots of relevant examples and practical, thought provoking points. Have you read it or have you heard of these philosophies elsewhere? Share your thoughts here!