The New Psychology of Success

The Growth Mindset Vs. The Fixed Mindset

In Carol S. Dweck's book, Mindset, she asserts the existence of two different mindsets: the fixed mindset, and the growth mindset. She explains how people with the fixed mindset believe that ability and intelligence is a fixed trait and cannot be changed; it can be a barrier for people, and it can prevent success. People with a growth mindset believe that people can improve ability with hard work and the correct mindset. She explores the behaviors and reactions of people with a fixed mindset and the growth mindset. How each mindset reacts to failure is a very salient point she makes; the growth mindset takes failures with pride and learns from them, whilst the fixed mindset becomes extremely demoralized and beats themselves up, thinking that they were never able to do it and will never be able to do it. Carol Dweck asserts that success is the result of a growth mindset, and it is how people grow and learn to become successful.

How does the fixed mindset affect someone?

Carol S. Dweck makes it clear that the fixed mindset is the inferior one; her research and examples suggest that people with the fixed mindset are stunted in success and are held back in almost all aspects of life: education, sports, business, careers, and many others. For example, in sports, the idea that one's ability is limited, and cannot get better, is part of the fixed mindset. This stunts their growth and success in the sport and can hurt them in the long haul. In business, the fixed mindset in companies result in the downfall of the company. When a CEO or leader has a fixed mindset, where they are not open to any other ideas other than their own, it is a very bad thing for the growth of the company.

learning the Growth mindset

Mindset gives plenty of suggestions and corrections to learning the growth mindset and ditching the fixed mindset to better ourselves as individuals. Carol Dweck asserts people with the fixed mindset turns down challenges, and that they are more worried about showing off their intelligence or ability to others and keeping that status as talented. When a challenge arises that they are unsure about succeeding in, they turn it down or avoid it in any way possible, without the notion that it might better them as a person or help them improve. Learning the growth mindset is all about accepting challenges and working hard for what you love to do instead of assuming greatness.

Praising the effort vs. the results

In Mindset, Carol Dweck also suggests a way for people to help others to not only grow the growth mindset, but to instill it into children from the beginning. She asserts that modern day society teaches growing children the fixed mindset. To help children and others, Carol Dweck says that instead of praising a child's results, it is much more helpful to praise the efforts it took to achieve those results. Praising a child's results is negative because it shows the child that the work put into those results don't mean anything, and that success is the most favorable outcome. Mindset labels failure as a learning point and a point of growth. People with the growth mindset will look at failures and grow from them instead of saying "I suck", "I'm terrible", or "I was never good in the first place." Praising the efforts it took to achieve results can help everyone grow a growth mindset because it shows them that the hard work and efforts they put in do matter.

Group Think

In the business chapter of Mindset, Carol Dweck introduces a very interesting idea: groupthink. Groupthink is when all members of a group conclude on a decision or idea unanimously. She asserts that this is a bad thing because it is a result of fixed mindsets and the faith in an intelligent leader. Groupthink does not support growth because of the lack of opposing viewpoints. No one knows if there is a better solution because no one has thought about it. When the CEO (or leader) of a company (or group) presents an idea, the lesser ranked employees are inclined to agree with them because they are more concerned with making themselves look good instead of the possibility of looking foolish. In Mindset, there are a few examples of groupthink. In the Bay of Pigs invasion of the United States in Cuba, Kennedy's advisors all agreed with Kennedy's plan to invade Cuba. No one provided a possibly better plan, no one even considered the possibility of there being a better plan than the President of the United States. The Bay of Pigs invasion was a disastrous and embarrassing moment in the United States history, and it was a result of a fixed mindset.

Bettering relationships with the growth mindset

The book provides ways to better yourself and your partner in relationships, as well as bettering yourself in friend groups and general social interactions. Carol Dweck asserts that shyness is the product of a fixed mindset. When someone is shy, they are afraid of judgement or embarrassment. They are afraid they might be rejected, and they would rather not try at all than to fail, which is a telltale sign of someone with a fixed mindset. Mindset also talks about bettering intimate relationships with the growth mindset. She talks about how communication and understanding is everything, and the belief that both you and your partner are capable of change is a huge step in the right direction. She explains how no relationships have complete understanding of each other, because then no communication would be needed. The ability to talk about what exactly is wrong when there is a problem or conflict can keep a relationship in tact and strong.

The Gifted mind

Modern Contexts

Mindset is filled with hundreds of real world examples of the two different mindsets. Carol S. Dweck even shares her own research and social experiments regarding the two different mindsets and the negatives and positives of each one. She gives historical examples of people, businesses, teams, with the different mindsets and the outcomes of each one. For example, as stated earlier, the outcome of the Bay of Pigs Invasion was a result of the fixed mindset. Michael Jordan is one of the best athletes of all time yet he remains humble due to his growth mindset and how much effort he put into being successful. One promising looking company, Enron, hired employees that have only seen success in their lives. When failure started to hit the business, no one knew how to turn it around, or improve themselves. The downfall of their company was a result of the fixed mindset.

Why is Mindset relevant?

In Mindset, there are hundreds of real world examples of both mindsets along with stories of some of Carol Dweck's own experiences and studies. All of these examples are very eye opening to the reader because it displays just how prevalent the fixed mindset is in today's world. Parents, teachers, and coaches with the fixed mindset affect children, teaching them the fixed mindset, who in turn grow up to be, in most cases, unchallenged and unsuccessful, as well as parents with a fixed mindset. Carol Dweck asserts that it all starts with the parents, teachers, and coaches. She provides ways to praise children and give them confidence without instilling the fixed mindset. In modern day society, the fixed mindset is everywhere. Mindset asserts that even small compliments like "You learned that so quickly! You're so smart!" can sound to a child as if I don't learn something quickly, I'm not smart. This sort of mindset can hold someone back from growth as a person, intellectually and socially.

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