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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
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Cover of Mindset
Author(s) Carol S. Dweck, PH.D.
Country United States of America
Language English
Subject(s) Psychology
Publisher Random House, Ballantine Books
Publication date 2006
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 276 pp. (first edition)
ISBN 1-4000-6275-6 (Hardback) & 0-3454-7232-2 (Paperback)
OCLC Number 58546262
Dewey Decimal 153.8 22
LC Classification BF773 .D85 2006

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success was written by Carol S. Dweck and focuses on how differing attitudes affect the way that people view both themselves and their interactions with others. In Mindset, Dweck argues that there are two fundamental mindsets that people use: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Dweck describes the properties of these mindsets in great detail, and demonstrates their profound effects by applying them to education, sports, relationships, and personal change.

OverviewEdit

The premise of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is the idea that people exercise either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe their talents and abilities cannot be improved through any means. They feel that they are born with a certain amount of talent and typically do not wish to challenge their abilities due to the possibility of failure. Individuals with a fixed mindset frequently guard themselves against situations in which they feel they need to prove their personal worth. Challenges are frequently viewed negatively, instead of as an opportunity for personal growth.

People that practice a growth mindset believe abilities, such as athleticism and mathematical capacity, can be improved through hard work and persistence. When presented with an obstacle, those practicing a growth mindset tend to rise to the challenge. Often, people of the growth mindset do not fear failure; instead, they view it as a chance to improve themselves.

Dweck explains that mindsets begin in childhood, extend into adulthood, and can drive multiple aspects of our lives, ranging from parenting and relationships, to sports and work. She reveals how prominent members of a variety of fields – business, literature, music, science, and sports - possess the growth mindset to achieve personal goals and dreams. Dweck encourages the reader by mentioning that anyone can change their mindset at any age or at any stage in life. She also provides steps or ideas that the reader can follow to achieve the growth mindset.

Summary of TopicsEdit

EducationEdit

Mindsets have origins, and parents, teachers and coaches happen to be key in their development. Every word or action they send is a message that can be either judgmental or developmental. The problem here is that the majority of the time parents, teachers and coaches do what they think is best for the child, without realizing that they are doing exactly the opposite. Sometimes, by praising children, they diminish them. Praise should be given to effort and persistence rather than intelligence or talent. For example, if a child worked hard on his homework then he must be recognized, but if another child did the homework without much effort at all, but achieved the expected results, instead of praising him, you should give him a more difficult task. The growth mindset in education focuses on expanding the students' knowledge and ways of thinking and investigating the world. Grades are not seen as an end in themselves, but as a means to grow. The best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.

“Praise should deal, not with the child's personality attributes, but with his efforts and achievements“. - Haim Ginott

SportsEdit

In the realm of sports, mindsets have a bigger role than most realize. Often 'the greats' are looked at as perfect specimens with innate talent that allowed them to excel, but in reality, this is not the case. Talent and being 'a natural' can only get you so far. Hard work and dedication are necessary to fulfill your potential. People with a growth mindset realize this and push themselves to achieve and maintain this high level of accomplishment. On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe that you possess certain skills and that any attempt to go beyond this natural talent is not only useless, but is looked down upon. Many examples are given including Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and Wilma Rudolph. All of these people met with difficulty early in their careers that gave each of them more than enough reason to give up, but instead they all had the growth mindset that allowed them to train and improve their skills, leading each of them to become champions in their own right. There are 3 main things that sports researchers found when they looked at commonalities between the athletes that exhibited the most character or heart (growth mindset):

  1. those with the growth mindset found success in doing their best, in learning and improving,
  2. those with the growth mindset found setbacks motivating because they're informative and are a wake-up call, and
  3. people with the growth mindset in sports took charge of the processes that bring success and maintain it.

This is not to say that natural talent means nothing and cannot take a person far, but it is to say that the growth mindset, and the motivation and dedication that comes with it, can take a person farther.

RelationshipsEdit

Some people allow relationship experiences to scar them and prevent them from forming satisfying relationships in the future. Others are able to heal and move on. What separates them is that people with the fixed mindset allow relationships to scar them and as a result, they want to get revenge after a break up. They feel permanently branded/labeled. With the growth mindset, people are more understanding and wish to learn from the experience. In relationships, two more subjects enter into your mindset; your partner and the relationship as a whole. This means that three things are able to be "fixed" now. The person with a growth mindset would believe that these three things are able to change.

Personal ChangeEdit

Perhaps the most important message throughout the book is that your mindset is not permanent. The growth mindset is based on the belief in change and it is important to know that no matter what stage you are at in life, it is not too late to make a change. This change is a challenge, but it is possible and well worth it. People's beliefs dictate more of their emotions and actions than they are aware of. If you can become conscious of your own mindset, then you can begin to pay attention to what you are telling yourself and if necessary, change that inner monologue so that your beliefs will support your goals instead of hindering their attainment. Often this change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is difficult because it requires people to 'give up' on using personal (fixed) traits as a source of self-esteem, and instead derive their self-esteem from effort and embrace things formerly thought of as threatening, such as challenge, struggle, criticism, and setbacks.

Release DetailsEdit

  • Dweck, Carol S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Random House.
  • Dweck, Carol S. (2008). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine Books.

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