Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Sharing a few highlights from Carol Dweck's Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  I have been meaning to read Mindset for some time.  However, I am glad that I read it on the heels of Paul Tough's How Children Succeed.  Several powerful connections between the two works and furthers the conversation about cultivating and promoting the development of essential non-cognitive skills.

What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?

A few modern philosophers … assert that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism.… With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.

At the same time, scientists are learning that people have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought

This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives

But for children with the growth mindset, success is about stretching themselves. It’s about becoming smarter.

One seventh-grade girl summed it up. “I think intelligence is something you have to work for … it isn’t just given to you.… Most kids, if they’re not sure of an answer, will not raise their hand to answer the question. But what I usually do is raise my hand, because if I’m wrong, then my mistake will be corrected. Or I will raise my hand and say, ‘How would this be solved?’ or ‘I don’t get this. Can you help me?’ Just by doing that I’m increasing my intelligence.”

I am simply saying that a growth mindset helps people to see prejudice for what it is—someone else’s view of them—and to confront it with their confidence and abilities intact

Those with the growth mindset found setbacks motivating. They’re informative. They’re a wake-up call.