I recently read a fantastic book entitled – ‘Mindset. The New Psychology of Success. How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential’ by Carol Dweck (2006) – “one of the most influential books ever on motivation” (Po Bronson). I really enjoyed the read, the case studies and examples presented were particularly interesting. I found it incredibly useful for learning more about teaching students and for improving myself generally. It details the two mindsets (fixed vs growth) and explains how these affect how you take criticism and failure, and how you deal with other people and situations.
The basic concept is that the fixed mindset means one bases their worth on their intelligence, which they view as a fixed trait. They must prove their superiority over and over to feel ‘successful’ and a failure is deeply damaging, as it challenges their entire concept of self. Confidence is tied to their level of intelligence, which again they believe cannot be changed. Therefore, challenging situations are seen as to be avoided, less they cannot overcome them. Opportunities are missed and potential is not realised because of the fear of failure. In contrast growth mindset views failure as learning, and intelligence as something which can change and grow. Challenges are therefore motivating and fun. This, in turn, means individuals are not held back and happily work hard to achieve their goals, take up opportunities and realise their full potential.
I definitely recommend this as a must-read. Here are the key points I took away from the book regarding how to be more ‘growth minded’: