We all love a good book, especially one from which we can learn specific aspects that could be applied in our everyday life. Researcher and psychology professors at Stanford, Carol Dweck proposes in her book that we all have either a fixed mindset or a growth one.
What could I say about this book to make you curious to give it a read? First of all, it will help you better answer the “why?” questions you have about yourself and others. It will incite you to observe the possible self-imposed brakes. It will reveal to you the fact that if you’re honest with yourself, you will resemble with her examples. And last but not least, if you really want to, you can make a change right now.
The central experiment focuses on two groups of arbitrarily selected children, who were given a puzzle to solve. After completing this rather easy task, the results were communicated to them along with a verbal reward. Children from the first group (A) had their intelligence and intellectual skills praised, while those in group B were congratulated for their work. Further on, the same children received a second test this time having the opportunity to choose the difficulty of the puzzle, simple or hard.
This possibility has pushed the majority of children from the first group to choose the easy option, unlike those in the second group which opted for a more difficult test. Then came a third test, with a high degree of difficulty equal for all. Children in the second group (B) have tried to resolve it as fairly as possible and tried different solutions, while children praised for their intelligence preferred to give up and blame the test as boring.
Carol’s experiment impressed the world of researchers, it was repeated 5 times, each time with the same results. Praised effort and work offered added value, a desire for improvement and a need to struggle for better results. The praise addressed to the intellect generated, instead, a complacency that was considered sufficient and, therefore, there was no reason for it to be changed, especially because of the desire to not fail. No one ever wants to be considered “less something”, especially if they have reached a certain level. The fear of being offended and that necessity to succeed no matter how became bigger than their own desire for improvement.
This is how 2 types of mentalities were brought to light, the fix one that tends to think they are not the problem, but rather the burden is on others, and the growth mentality, one which is in a continuous process of development and seeks to find the cause of the failure and not the one who is to blame for it.
In the body of the book, Carol Dweck applies this flexible-inflexible antithesis to entrepreneurship, sports or social relationships. And the question remained printed in my thoughts, and I further address it to you: If you had a choice, what would you choose? A guaranteed success confirming your skills, or having the chance to be permanently challenged and improve yourself?