Mindset is a great book discussing something all successful people, from kids to CEOs, have in common: a growth mindset. I’ve read a few books talking about the importance of the way we think, Dr. Dweck did a great job tying different examples together to illustrate one of the most important paradigm shifts one can have: fixed mindset –> growth mindset. Below is are my top three takeaways:

I. Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset:

  • Growth mindset: “growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”
  • Fixed mindset: “Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”

II. It’s about the journey:

  • “Becoming is better than being.” “Beware of success. It can knock you into a fixed mindset.” When we think about our success as a journey instead of destination, we are no longer trapped by the fear of failure or inadequate. A growth mindset would say to inadequacy, “I’m not there yet, but I will be improving myself; thank you for challenging myself so I can be better.” On the other hand, a fixed mindset would say to inadequacy, “My identify is based on achievement; when I don’t achieve/become something, I’m a failure.”
  • “Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.” This reminds me of what Daniel Coyle wrote in The Talent Code, when you’re in deep practice mode (struggling a bit and practicing outside your comfort zone), your brain actually starts to grow myelin, the protective coating around nerve fibers, and thus increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted and helping us to develop stronger skills.

III. The science of praising others:

  • “Praising children’s intelligence harms their motivation and it harms their performance… It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”
  • This reminds me of what my dad always said to me and his friends when they tried to praise how smart I was as a young boy. “I know my son; whatever he has achieved so far is a direct result of his hard work. Whenever he slacks off, he would not do as well.” I’d like to thank my dad for helping me to develop a growth mindset early on. Nurturing growth mindset is a continuous process – fixed mindset still creeps up on me sometimes when triggered by certain things (such as criticism or perceived disrespect), but I’m working on it. Need to be specially mindful of my mindset in these situations.

Time to act – how this book can help you grow!

How do you define success? If it’s based on some materialistic achievement, think again! Don’t fall into the trap of proving yourself through achievements. Success is not a destination; it’s all about the growth journey! Constantly ask yourself in various situations: “Which mindset am I in at this very moment, growth or fixed?” 


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