A few months ago I discovered this book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, by Dr. Carol S. Dweck. I’m pretty sure I heard about it from Derek Sivers blog post “Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset”.
Here’s a basic summary from Derek’s post:
It’s a little bit like “nature vs nurture”:
People in a fixed mindset believe you either are or aren’t good at something, based on your inherent nature, because it’s just who you are.
People in a growth mindset believe anyone can be good at anything, because your abilities are entirely due to your actions.
It took some time for the book to be available at the library and I’ve been devouring it this week. I was very proud of myself because I felt like I’d discovered the BIG SECRET.
“My life makes total sense now! I have a FIXED Mindset! That’s my problem! And the book says I can change it! What a relief!”
Last night I asked my wife: “Dear, do you have a Fixed Mindset?”
She looked up from her computer: “Or a Growth Mindset?” She answered.
“What?! You know about this stuff?” I asked.
My wife, a second grade bi-lingual public school teacher, went on to explain they’ve been teaching that way in her school for years now. They even watch Dr. Dweck’s videos during professional development days.
“Why those lucky—correction–I mean those hard working children,” I said.
“Exactly,” she said.
There is a “Test Your Mindset” test you can take on the Mindset website. I took it twice.
I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that a person can become more intelligent. I guess I was brought up thinking that intelligence was set at birth, like hair color. But maybe it can grow or shrink like a muscle? Or maybe I don’t know the definition of intelligence?
My wife says they encourage the kids by saying, “I can see you’ve worked really hard on that problem.”
And come to think of it, I’ve noticed it around the house too when she says things like. “I can see you’ve worked really hard on those dishes. They’re very clean,” rather than, “Aren’t you a talented dishwasher?”
Since last night I’ve been amazed at how a Growth Mindset has really changed my life. Our dishes have never been cleaner, and just this morning I started writing a song, and then this blog post.