Just imagine for a moment, about all the things that plays in your mind as you work through your daily schedule. The most powerful words we hear are the stories that we tell to ourselves. For instance, “I feel I am technically challenged” or “not good-enough to sell a product ” etc. These are narratives that gets stuck in our brain that slowly but truly turns out into our self-belief. Probably you are right, maybe you aren’t fast in grasping the technology. But, for once, think back and wonder who told you these things at first place. I am guessing, you had to told this to yourself. So how sure can you be that they are unchangeable facts. May be given the required time and mentorship you may become tech-savvy or greatest salesman of the year.
This time in book review series, I have picked-up one of the most talked about and promoted book in last five years, The Mindset, Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Carol is a Stanford Professor, who has decade of research behind this masterpiece in domain of human psychology, thousands of hours of studies and thousands of students she has seen from all age groups. Her research of more than ten years on achievement and success led her to discover what great parents, teachers, CEOs and athlete already know that our mindset is basis of accomplishment. Her focus is primarily on why some people keep moving forward while others give up.
I find it quite intriguing and fascinating; I am sure questions like “how did she become the best swimmer in the town while we join swim class together?” for instancemust have crossed your mind at some point. I mean everyone who is good at something today, wasn’t good at it earlier. So, what made the difference for some of us? How do some people achieve their goal while others remain where they were? How do you learn new things without judging yourself? Get on with your own team and go from mediocrity to excellence with one simple shift. It’s a known fact that none can destroy iron, but it’s own rust. Similarly, none can destroy you but your own mindset! Although, this book is not a light read, perhaps 290 pages loaded with tonnes of research but truly a phenomenal book. I have distilled 290 pages of research for you into 5 key takeaways that can really make an impact in our life, and influence our action for the better.
First Key Takeaway – The Two Mindset
To open this review, I would like to explain the two prevailing mindsets – Fixed and Growth
People with fixed mindset believe intelligence can’t be changed this leads to the desire to look smart in order to avoid challenges. They don’t want to look bad if they fail which hold them back to take any new challenge or even change voluntarily. In the face of obstacles, they get defensive and give up easily. They see effort to be pointless and believes that people are only great at things because they were born that way. When confronted with constructive criticism they ignore them and lastly, they feel threatened by the success of others. People with fixed mindset achieve much less than they are capable of. On the other-hand, people with growth mindset believe intelligence can be developed. This leads to desire to change for the better and learning aspirations, therefore instead of avoiding challenges they can embrace them. People with growth mindset can persist in the face of obstacles and see effort as a part of mastery. Such people accept constructive criticism and use them to their advantage. Lastly, they feel inspired by others and learn from their success. As a result, they fulfil their ultimate potential.
Second Key Takeaway – Mindset in Sport
One of the most iconic basketball players of all times, Michael Jordan who is well-known for his power-pack fifteen seasons in the NBA. He went on to win six championships and now the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. But how many of us know the other side of famous MJ. Michael Jordan wasn’t all natural, he got to where he is by working hard on himself and developing his craft. Did you known, he was rejected by his high school varsity team and first three NBA team that could have chosen him. When you hear his interviews, you will comprehend how devastated and disappointed he felt. But he didn’t quit rather he worked harder and disciplined himself.
Let’s look at the second side of the coin, what about people who seem to be natural at their game. Largely, with all the price to their talent and how little efforts they put in their work to build themselves they can easily develop fixed mindset. It is very convenient not to learn how to work hard or cope with the challenges and set-backs. A fixed mindset hampers or stops athlete to maintain their success in long-run. Carol found that athlete with growth mindset found success in doing their best and learning in the process. They found set-backs motivating and took charge of the processes that bring success.
Third Key Takeaway – Mindset in Business
Author of one of the famous books, “Good to Great”, Jim Collins and his team conducted an in-depth research for 5 year that was inclined to find out how some companies go from good to great. One thing they found was that great companies had leaders with growth mindset!
Let me explain you with an example, in the late 1980’s IBM, one of the famous multinational IT blue chip giant facing some serious problems. Their business was losing market share to the competitors and no new innovative products were launched in the market. After an in-depth analysis, it was found that they had a culture that was filled with people trying to be better than each other. IBM was known to endure a culture of smugness and employees defending personal status that inhibited learning and growth. In 1993, they asked Louis Gerstner to turn things around. Louis Gerstner had a growth mindset, promoted team work and got rid of up-tight culture. Over the course of next 9 years IBM increased the value by 800%. Ultimately, Carol argued that successful business needs to train leaders, managers and employees to have growth mindset. This can be done by constructing and cultivating growth mindset environment which involves presenting skills as learnable. This conveys the fact that organisation values learning and perseverance, not innate talent. It is essential to give right feedback that promotes learning and future success enabling managers as resources for learning.
Fourth Key Takeaway- Mindset in Relationships
There is two common way dealing with pain and heartbreak in the relationship. First is to label oneself as un-lovable or seek revenge. This is how fixed mindset people deal with it, they let these experiences scar them and prevent them from falling in love in future. People with growth mindset it’s all about understanding, forgiving and moving on. Although they are deeply hurt from these negative experiences like anyone would be, they want to understand what can I learn from this. In a relationship it is possible to believe that one’s qualities or partner’s qualities and relationship qualities are fixed. On the other hand, the growth mindset says these three things can be developed.
Primarily, two fixed ways of thinking about relationship, first, if you have to work at it, it wasn’t meant to be. As a matter of fact is all relationship requires work and efforts and one can’t expect you partner to know your needs if you don’t communicate effectively.
Second, romanticising idea of a perfect problem free relationship that automatically works is unrealistic. second way of thinking about relationship is that problem indicates character flaws. People often blame their relationship problem on their partner and assign their blame to the character flaw. They think that their partner is an angry person when really problem is not the person but the situation. If Jane is angry every day when Lucas gets back from work, instead of blaming Jane for being an angry person, Lucas should look at the situation and understand why is she angry every time. Finally, your partner may have different skills, beliefs and values of their own. A growth minded approach to a relationship is hoping your partner to reach their own goal and reach their own potential
Fifth Key Takeaway- Mindset in Parenting and Teaching
The way children think about themselves is heavily based on messages they receive from their parents and teachers. This has the direct effect on learning and development. With every interaction you have with your child, as parent we should ask ourselves am, I giving them a message that will influence a fixed mindset for instance, they have permanent traits and am I judging them on that. Or am I communicating a message that instil a message of growth mindset that you are a developing person and I am interested in your development. Critical lesson is not to praise children’s intelligence rather their efforts behind achieving their goal. If you say you have learned that quickly, you are so smart, what children really hear is if I don’t learn something quickly, I am not smart. Or if you say you are so brilliant, you got an A without even studying. What children really hear is I better quit studying or they won’t think I am brilliant. This doesn’t mean don’t praise your children but praise the efforts and choices, not their intelligence and talent. You can say, you really studied for your test and your improvement shows it. You read the materials over several times and you tested yourself on it and it really worked!
Therefore, in life irrespective of which role you are playing make a conscious effort to think from a growth mindset prospective. Now is the time to shift the way of thinking such that you can block those damaging thoughts that circle our mind. Thoughts that have potential to rob us from the opportunities in order to establish new skills which can help to secure future success, happiness and employability.
Hope this review helped in bringing you closer to the growth mindset! Let me know what you feel about this review.