A few years ago there is a researcher called Carol Dweck, she wanted to see how children coped with challenges so she gave 10-year-olds problems that were slightly too hard for them some of the students tried and failed to solve the problems. They felt their intelligence was being tested and they failed and they were devastated but some students in the group responded differently. They also tried and failed to solve the problems but they said shockingly positive things like, “I love a challenge” or “ I was hoping this would be informative”. Carol suggests that the difference between the two groups was all down to their mindset.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
The fixed mindset is the idea that all of the abilities that we have things like our intelligence, and ability to solve problems are all fundamentally innate and there’s not a lot that we can do to change them whereas the growth mindset is more of a mindset that everything is a skill. Everything can be learned, and everything can be improved over time whether that’s our ability to solve problems or our ability to public speak.
There is an element of raw talent like there are just some people who are better at singing by default, having a growth mindset means that you accept that there is this thing called talent but you also accept there is a huge kind of room for improvement in almost anything that we put our minds into.
How much we value effort
In society and especially amongst people with a fixed mindset, there’s this attitude that you should be able to do something without putting any effort into it and that is the mark of like a true genius or someone who’s a pro. You see this often a lot in schools and universities and where people will feel that When I study for my exam, trying to write an essay, trying to learn a new language, or learning to code it feels so effortful therefore I must be stupid. The fact that I’m working so hard to do this thing means I must not be very good at the thing and therefore I am dumb that’s generally the fixed mindset approach to life and is obviously total BS.
Carol talk in Mindset
What Carol tells us in mindset and she cites loads of evidence that shows that actually everything in life takes a large amount of effort even the geniuses, especially the geniuses they were putting in so much effort which we don’t hear about or we don’t see because it doesn’t make for an interesting story. Isaac Newton, an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity, that’s the story that we hear about but there are a million other experiments that he tried to do. He dabbles with astronomy, he did like so much stuff and most of it is relegated to the discard pile because it’s only the successes that we actually care about.
what she tries to encourage us in the book, which I think is very good, is to reframe the idea of effort. Putting an effort is not a bad thing we have to put an effort to get any kind of result especially when it comes to things like learning and studying. The more effort we’re putting into it the more our brains are having to work. The more likely that information is to stick. It would be like going to the gym and saying lifting weights should feel effortless, well if lifting weights feels effortless then you’re not going to get any gains because it’s only when you put effort into it and when it starts to get hard that’s when you get the stimulus for muscle growth.
Seeing the Opportunity in Failure
This is one of those standard things that become such a common part of mainstream self-help advice that obviously if you fail at something then you should see it as a learning opportunity rather than seeing it as a total failure. I found that keeping your journal of that does actually help because then if I do fail at something I think okay what can I do next time and once I figured out what lessons I’m going to take away from the failure, It becomes a learning opportunity and then I find that I dwell on the failure a lot less than I would if I don’t do the reflection exercise.
Progress Beat Perfection
Whenever we’re starting anything especially if we’ve had any amount of success in the past, it’s very easy to develop this sort of disease of perfectionism that this next thing that I do has to be perfect. I am objectively good at this aspect of my life, like my work and my business therefore I have to be objectively good at this other thing. It’s so hard to make any progress if you’ve got this attitude of wanting things to actually be good or to actually be perfect all the time. Focus on the quantity, to begin with, focus on making progress, focus on putting effort, and ultimately Quantity would change to Quality, and Progress is more important than perfection.
Developing a growth mindset is a gradual journey
It’s not something that will just happen overnight. It’s a gradual journey of discovery and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much if we can’t switch overnight from a fixed mindset through to a growth mindset in every different area of life.
Change can be tough, but I’ve never heard anyone say it wasn’t worth it. Maybe they’re just rationalizing, the way people who’ve gone through a painful initiation say it was worth it, But people who’ve changed can tell you how their lives have been enhanced. They can tell you about things they have now that they wouldn’t have had, and ways they feel now that they wouldn’t have felt.
Did changing toward a growth mindset solve all my problems? No, but I know that I have a different life because of it — a richer one. I’m a more alive and open person because of it. It’s for you to decide whether change is right for you now, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. but either way, keep the growth mindset in your thoughts. then, you can turn to it when you bump up against obstacles. It will always be there for you, showing you a path into the future.