Mindset is the “popularisation” of many decades of research for Dr Dweck – who specialises in researching achievement and success. It is a fascinating book to read; partially due to the application of her work (leadership, coaching, schools, parenting, relationships- pretty much every aspect of life!); and partially due to the subject matter itself.
At the heart of Dr Dweck’s theory is that there are two categories of individuals – those that have a fixed mindset and those that have a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is, as it implies, that the individual has a “fixed” view of their ability, intellect, sporting or musical prowess – whatever. That can be a good or bad view. The growth mindset believes that there is the ability to develop and grow..
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re all going to end up as Olympic athletes or the Prime Minister as talent and aptitude do of course have a place; but simply that there’s always room for growth, for learning. Dweck gives the example of a little girl who desperately wants to be a ballet dancer. She’s not blessed with the natural physique of a dancer, and so her dreams of becoming a professional dancer are not fulfilled. But, she does discover a lifelong joy of music and dance as part of the process of learning to dance.
Dweck describes how damaging having a fixed mindset can be (as a parent, as an employer, as a coach). And more importantly, provides tangible examples of how to change this.
This research has really important implications for the way that we treat the “talent” equation; the way that we encourage and praise our children and the way that we view “working on” our relationships when things get hard. The implications for leadership are equally important.
If you read one book this year; read this one. I guarantee it will challenge the way that you’ve been acting in some aspect of your life. And challenge is a good thing. Stopping to think about the way we do things is a good thing. Making conscious considered decisions is a good thing.
Everyone who I have spoken to who has read the book to date has really had pause to stop and think. What do you think? Have you read it? Is she right? How did it change your behaviour or thought process?
I gave this 4.5/5