Dr Carol Dweck on ‘Mindset’

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By Jackie Sand – 24.03.2017 – Photo: Aaron Davis


Psychologist Dr Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that our attitude is way more important for our success than our IQ. She is a professor for Psychology at Standford University. Her primary research interest is in studying: Motivation, Personality, and Development.

She discerns between: ‘Fixed Mindset’ and ‘Growth Mindset’.

 Photo by: Coti22

With a fixed mindset, we believe that we are who we are and we cannot change. This creates a problem for us when a challenge arises since anything that appears to be more than we can handle makes us feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Being smart, inspires confidence! That is true, it does, but only while life challenges are easy to handle. The deciding factor in life is how we handle our setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms.

According to Dr Dweck, success in life is all about how we deal with failure.

Quote: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.'”

We should try not complain when things go wrong!

Complaining is a sign of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset looks for opportunity in everything. We should aim to be flexible, everyone encounters challenges in life. Empowered people with a growth-oriented mindset embrace adverse life situations as a means for improvement and growth.

Dweck’s definition of fixed and growth mindsets from a 2012 interview:

Carol Dweck

“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”[8]

This is important because (1) individuals with a “growth” theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals’ theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as “good job, you’re very smart” are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like “good job, you worked very hard” they are likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it is possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.

Book Reference, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Dr Dweck

Link : Carol Dweck

Mindsetonline.com: Carol Dweck


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