Carol S. Dweck: Mindset – The new Psychology of Success

Carol describes in her book two different mindsets. One is a so-called fixed mindset, being convinced, one’s talent is a given and his qualities are carved in stone, the other believes, her basic qualities are things she can cultivate through her efforts, and that everybody can change through application and experience, ie. she inhibits the growth mindset.

The fixed mindset is about making no mistakes at all, being perfect on the spot, dreaming of “effortless perfection”.
For the growth-mindset it is not about immediate perfection. “It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.”

These two mindsets have a very high impact on your life: you stay as you are, in your fixed mindset, or you grow and change and develop through your growth-mindset.
Carol shows the fundamental consequences for your own life and for the life of your (direct) environment, in sports, in education, in leadership and management.
Try to imagine your direct work/life environment, the people you meet everyday, and your own thoughts, attitudes and actions, of course, while reading the next lines.

– What kind of relationships would you like to have: ‘ones that bolster your egos or ones that challenge you to grow?’
“People with a fixed mindset said the ideal mate would: Put them on a pedestal. Make them feel perfect. Worship them.” …
“People with a growth mindset hoped for a different kind of partner. They said their ideal partner was some one who would: See their faults and help them to work on them. Challenge them to become a better person. Encourage them to learn new things.”

– “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail – or if you are not the best – it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”

– The fixed-mindset people “may constantly put their talent on display. They may think that their talent makes them superior to other people. And they may be intolerant of mistakes, criticism, or setbacks – something that can hamper their progress.”

– “The growth-minded are not constantly trying to prove they’re better than others. …”

– Leaders who really do achieve something: “These were not the larger-than-life, charismatic types who oozed ego and self-proclaimed talent.
They were self-effacing people who constantly asked questions and had the ability to confront the most brutal answers – that is, to look failures in the face, even their own, while maintaining faith that they would succeed in the end.”

– “The growth-minded athletes, CEO’s, musicians, or scientists all loved what they did, whereas many of the fixed-minded ones did not.
Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love.
It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do.”

– The fixed-mindset managers: “… at critical decision points, they opted for what would make them feel good and look good over what would serve the longer-term corporate goals.”

– The growth-mindset leaders: “Instead they are constantly trying to improve. They surround themselves with the most able people they can find, they look squarely at their own mistakes and deficiencies, and they ask frankly what skills they and the company will need in the future. And because of this, they can move forward with confidence that’s grounded in facts, not built on fantasies about their talent.”

– “As growth-minded leaders, they start with a belief in human potential and development – both their own and other people’s. Instead of using the company as a vehicle for their greatness, they use it as an engine of growth – for themselves, the employees, and the company as a whole.”

And? Did you meet some old friends, attitudes, mindsets? You want to get rid of yours? Carol offers some supportive questions after every chapter, and an elaborate “workshop” near the end of the book, which is really helpful to understand the pitfalls and best-practices.

One last reason to believe and to change yourself, or help others to change:
“When bosses become controlling and abusive, they put everyone into a fixed mindset. This means that instead of learning, growing, and moving the company forward, everyone starts worrying about being judged. It start’s with the bosses’ worry to be judged, but it winds up being everybody’s fear about being judged.”

Fixed-mindset bosses create fixed-mindset employees and companies. Help to stop this – in yourself and in others.