Mindset The New Psychology of Success

Review From User :

Excellent book. This one sounds like a typical self-help book, but it's a real find. The author is a pyschology researcher at Columbia, and her book is filled with insights and illustrations regarding the differences that a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset can have when applied to business, parenting, school, and relationships. Her research has been highlighted in many venues, including an excellent book on parenting titled Nurture Shock.

I give it 5 stars because I can see so much of myself in the book's description of the fixed mindset. The book's message spoke to me and the mindset I've adopted in some areas of my life. I'm particularly prone to the "Effort Gone Awry" scenario where I would work hard, but not with a growth mindset (i.e., one associated with the love of learning). Rather, I'd be working hard to prove myself to others. I worked hard to have achievements that would validate my self worth and adopted identity. The downside is that you end up being unwilling to take risks or face tough challenges (if you fail, your self worth goes down). Also, you end up running yourself ragged and being stressed out because you're afraid of losing the approval of others if you don't succeed.

I find the growth mindset fits very well within a Christian perspective as our life in God needs to be always one of continual growth -- "higher up and deeper in" as C.S. Lewis would say. The fixed vs. growth mindset isn't the whole story, but it's an important part of the puzzle in helping us better understand how our minds work.

I like the diagram on p.245 that I believe sums up the message of the book.

Fixed Mindset:
-E.g., Intelligence is static

Leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to...
Challenges: avoid challenges
Obstacles: get defensive or give up easily
Effort: see effort as fruitless or worse
Criticism: ignore useful negative feedback
Success of others: feel threatened by the success of others

=> As a result, they may plateau early and achieve less than their full potential

Growth Mindset:
-E.g., Intelligence can be developed

Leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to...
Challenges: embrace challenges
Obstacles: persist in the face of setbacks
Effort: see effort as the path to mastery
Criticism: learn from criticism
Success of others: find lessons and inspiration in the success of others

=> As a result, they reach ever-higher levels of achievement

These basic questions are also helpful in developing a growth mindset.

I need to continually ask myself:
-What are the opportunities for learning and growth today For myself For the people around me

As I think of opportunities and form a plan, I need to ask:
When, where, and how will I embark on my plan

As I encounter difficulties, I need to ask:
When, where, and how will I act on my new plan

And when you succeed, ask yourself:
What do I have to do to maintain and continue the growth


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