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The Importance of Your Mindset

11 January 2016

Janie read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and was amazed by all the ways that mindset can affect day-to-day life.

Tags: design thinking, janie read, mindset

I have heard about Carol Dweck and her research for several years. In my current role at Allison Partners, and my previous role with Darden Executive Education, I managed a number of design thinking courses, and I saw the notion of mindsets represented in our program materials over and over again. Dweck’s research on mindsets was referenced many times, so when I saw Mindset: The New Psychology of Success on the bookshelf at Allison Partners, I decided to pick it up and see what Dweck has to say.

Dweck talks about how mindsets are just beliefs. They’re very powerful beliefs, but they are just something in your mind, and your mind can be changed. People with a fixed mindset believe that we are born with certain qualities, a certain level of skill and intelligence, and these qualities will never change. This kind of mindset can lead to living a life where you feel you have to prove your skills over and over again. A growth mindset is the idea that the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for your development. You can increase your skills and intelligence by working harder. Everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Dweck asserts that intelligence is something you have to work for; it’s not just given to you.

Dweck describes the impact of mindsets in multiple contexts, including athletics, business, relationships, parenting, teaching and coaching. I found her research to be fascinating, and I particularly enjoyed reading her examples of the growth mindset and people pushing through their challenges. Dweck emphasizes that success is 99% hard work, and she gives some great guidance on how to develop a growth mindset if you tend to fall in more of the fixed mindset camp. She shares that she changed from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset herself, and she reveals some of the struggles she faced with changing her way of thinking. She emphasizes that mindset change isn’t about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. The commitment is to growth and this takes lots of time and effort.

Personally, my natural tendencies lean more toward a fixed mindset, but I am working on changing my perspective. It is a challenge, but after reading this book I know it is a challenge that is worth embarking on.

Do you find that you tend to lean more toward one mindset or the other? If you’re interested in reading more about the differences between the two; I would encourage you to read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The book includes many interesting examples of famous figures who demonstrated characteristics of fixed and growth mindsets. It’s a very thought-provoking read.


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