Summary of Mindset by Carol Dweck

January 6th, 2019

Chapter 1 - The different mindsets

  • Binet, a Frenchman invented the IQ test as a way to identify children that were not benefiting from Paris Public schools
  • This was meant to allow them to design new educational programs to get them back on track
  • Robert Sternberg sights that major factor in whether people achieve expertise is purposeful practice, not some fixed prior ability
  • Believing that our qualities are set in stone, the fixed mindset creates a desire to provo yourself again and again
  • Alternatively, the growth mindset is based on the idea that basic qualities are things you cultivate through effort. Although initial talents and interests will vary hugely, everyone can change and grow through applying themselves and tackling different expeirences
  • Crudely speaking, people essentially have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset
  • The point is, why have a fixed mindset where you focus on proving how good you are at the same old things rather than looking at how you could be even better? Why hide weaknesses when you could be overcoming them?
  • Challenging and stretching yourself and sticking at it is a clear sign of the growth mindset
  • The main point about all this is that you can change your mindset

Chapter 2 - Inside the mindsets

-In the fixed mindset, success is about proving you're smart and talented. Validating yourself and not exposing your weaknesses.

  • In the growth mindset, success is about stretching yourself to learn something new, with new challenges and developing yourself
  • Great quote from prominent sociologist Bengamin Barber - "I don't divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures...I divide the world into the learners and the nonlearners.
  • This begs the question, why would anyone want to be a nonlearner? Everyone is born with an intense desire to learn.
  • Experiment look at a faculty offering a course for students to improve their English skills. Those with growth mindset seized the change. But those with fixed mindset didn't want to expose their deficiencies.
  • Lee Iacocca (Chrysler) had a bad case of CEO disease a.k.a a fixed mindset which was a desire to be perfect all the time. He kept brining out very similar cars with minor tweaks, unfortunately people had lost interest in these. So Japanese companies seized on the opportunity and were completely rethinking the car market, releasing the models we love and drive now. This is a problem CEOS face all the time, should they face their shortcomings or should they stay in a world where they have now.
  • Another experiment was done for college students who had done poorly in a test, were given the opportunity to look at tests of other students. Growth mindset students looked at those that had done better than them and how they could learn from it. Students with fixed mindset however, looked at those with lower scores so they would feel better about themselves.
  • Fixed minset people tend to say "If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it"
  • The idea of trying and still failing, of leaving yourself without 'an excuse' is the biggest fear within the fixed mindset
  • At least if you don't try or don't do something you can always say, "I could be great at x"
  • Should think about what you want to look back at and say, then choose your mindset. e.g Far better to say I really gave it a shot than to say you never tried and wouldn't ever know
  • Fixed mindset is all about the outcome - if you fail or not the best, then any effort is a waste. Growth mindset on the other hand allows you to value what you're doing, regardless of the outcome.
  • Next time you're doing something new and it starts to get really hard, don't be fooled by your mind telling you it's time to stop. This is the fixed mindset. Switch to a growth mindset and see how you can learn from it and take on the challenge. (This reminds me a little of the resistance in the war of art, e.g the part of your braining constantly telling you to not try things in case you look stupid.)
  • Don't surround yourself with worshippers. See constructive criticism.
  • Next time you feel low, put yourself in a growth mindset - think about learning from this challenge or difficult time think about the effort you put in as a constructive force.

Chapter 3 - The truth about ability and accomplishment

  • Think of times when someone outdid you and you just assumed it was because they were smarter or more talented. Now think for a moment that actually it was just that they taught themselves more, applied themselves more, practiced harder and worked through the challenges. You can do that too.
  • Don't act stupid in situations that you don't understand or struggle with, engage the growth mindset and think about the learning and improvement rather than judgement

Chapter 4 - Sports - the mindset of a champion

By Jonathan Clift, a UX Desginer based in the UK.