A short review of Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

So I read this book a while ago, and thought it would be a good idea to do a review on it. This book, to a large extent, resonates with me and I am sure in some way will do the same for a lot of you. It is one of those books that puts a lot of ideas into perspective, namely, our natural ability to succeed in life. Many people resign Mindset-the-coverto the fact that they are born with certain preset abilities or intelligence, or they can only go so far up the success ladder. Those who have this type of thinking are often victims of what’s been told to them over the course of their entire life. Let me know if this sounds familiar, “I am sorry but your son did not fare well in Algebra, you may want to consider enrolling him in the remedial course that can get him back on track,” or, “Your daughter seems to get distracted very easily, and as a result disrupts class, and all the other students, maybe this school is not the right fit for her.” When a young person hears these words repeated time and again, they begin to believe it, and begin to think that maybe they are not good enough.

Then there are those who break all boundaries, and prove that they are more than what they have been told, and they can achieve more, and do more. They simply challenge that belief and don’t give up until they have done everything in their power to prove it to themselves. Many of these individuals probably had someone who reinforced that mindset in them, and that led them to believe it for themselves. This book breaks down exactly why there are those who believe they are born with their abilities and intelligence and can only go so far with that, and those who believe that their abilities and intelligence can be developed.

The author calls them the fixed mindset, and the growth mindset. Several examples have been provided in the book to distinguish between the two mindsets, and it’s just amazing how true they are when you compare them to your own life and why some people exceed expectations while others don’t.

One of the ideas behind the fixed mindset that the author discusses in this book, is the fear of trying and failing, and leaving yourself without excuses, or, the idea that if you have above average intelligence and have unique abilities, you are not supposed to put in effort, success should happen naturally and should be effortless. You can’t have excuses for failing, especially if you know you put in the effort and you still failed.

When it comes to the growth mindset, the belief that the personality can be developed through your mindset is very important. Believing that talent can be developed allows you to fulfill your potential. The growth mindset allows people to love what they do, despite enduring obstacles and difficulties along the way. Those with the growth mindset reach the top of the success ladder just by putting in effort into what they love, unknowingly. In other words when you love what you do, and you turn failures into positive reinforcements, and use them as fuel to learn from and grow, you are virtually unstoppable when it comes to achieving your goals in any part of your life. In fact, you may not even realize just how well you are doing due to the fact that you are just so involved in the thing you love.

The author also discusses the idea of constructive criticism. In a growth mindset, you should be open to this form of criticism, and not be surrounded by ‘yes’ people or people that will agree with everything you do, right or wrong, good or bad.

One example that really stood out to me was the idea of going back to your past and remembering a time when you were possibly rejected, or defined by something negative. The author mentions that you should put yourself back in that moment and really feel the emotions you felt at the time. Then switch your thinking to a growth mindset and ask yourself what role you played in it, but also know that it doesn’t define your intelligence or personality. Once in a growth mindset, try to figure out how you could grow from that experience in a positive way.

Another example from the book is when you are depressed or bored, it is easy to just let your emotions rule over your mind, which eventually leads to an unproductive day, as you tend to wallow in your misery. Instead, with the growth mindset, one should turn it around by confronting the situation and turning it into a positive productive effort. One way is to not really allow yourself to think too much about it and immediately plunge into something useful like putting away dishes, or folding the laundry for example.

This book is filled with many such examples of how to turn a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, and over time, improve your general life and eventually ‘fulfill your potential.’ This is a must read for anyone who is looking to improve in the areas of ‘parenting, business, school, relationships, and personal growth in general.’ In short, the general take away from reading this book, is that it’s never too late to make a positive change in your life.


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