Book Notes: Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

Reading Time: 21 minutes

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN-13 : 978-0345472328

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Table of Contents

💡 3 Main Ideas

  • A mindset is a way of thinking; a powerful belief that provides a framework for one’s thoughts and actions. There are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.
    • A Fixed mindset is one that believes that one’s fundamental traits, characteristics, and qualities are fixed, set in stone and can never be changed. Success is based on these traits, and there is only a limited supply of these qualities.
    • A Growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic or fundamental qualities can be cultivated and improved through your efforts, strategies, and with help from other people. The growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be cultivated through applied effort, deliberate practice, and in the face of challenges.
  • The mindset or view that you adopt for yourself can have profound consequences on the way you lead your life. “Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads. They guide the whole interpretation process.” (249)
    • The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is constantly focused on judging and evaluating**.** The belief that your qualities are permanent, limited, fixed, and carved in stone creates a need to constantly prove yourself over and over.
    • A growth mindset, which believes that traits and qualities can be developed through effort and deliberate practice, creates a passion for learning. It creates a personality that is oriented towards discovering lessons and takeaways for constructive action. “What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better?” (249)
  • Mindsets can be changed. A mindset is just a belief, and a belief can be changed. In order to put yourself in a growth mindset, be on the lookout for ways to convert challenges and obstacles into opportunities. Think about effort as a positive, constructive force, not as something to be feared and avoided. Seek out opportunities for learning and growth in your everyday life, and make a plan to take advantage of these opportunities.

🔑 Five Key Takeaways

  • People with a fixed mindset fear challenge and devalue effort. They do not believe in putting in effort or getting help because “risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task”. (13) They fear asking for help because they’re afraid it will show that they need assistance and are not innately gifted or talented. They also dislike activities that require effort, because effort implies you need to try, and a naturally gifted or talented person would not need to try.
  • People with the growth mindset are particularly accurate at estimating their abilities, while those with the fixed mindset are not very good at judging their own or other’s abilities. Per Howard Gardner, (Extraordinary Minds) “exceptional individuals have “a special talent for identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.” (15)
  • People with the growth mindset are better able to convert failures and setbacks into future success. Resilience and perseverance is the hallmark of the growth mindset. People with the growth mindset view problems and challenges not as personal failures, but as opportunities and experiences that can help them to further learn, grow, and develop. People with the growth mindset develop a passion for learning.
  • The mindset that you adopt for yourself can profoundly affect the way you lead your life. “It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.” (pg. 8). It has a major impact on your relationships with your partner/ spouse, children, students, colleagues, and so on. It can affect your marriage, your relationship with your children and the way you raise those children.
  • Fortunately, you can change your mindset. Mindsets are not fixed. “Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind. (20)

✍️ Top Quotes

  • 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. (10)
  • When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself. In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential. In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented. (20)
  • In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. (56)
  • “For me the joy of athletics has never resided in winning,” Jackie Joyner-Kersee tells us, “…I derive just as much happiness from the process as from the results. I don’t mind losing as long as I see improvement or I feel I’ve done as well as I possibly could. If I lose, I just go back to the track and work some more.” (110)
  • [Coach John Wooden] didn’t demand that his players never lose. He asked for full preparation and full effort from them. “Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?” If so, he says, “You may be outscored but you will never lose.” (233)

📒 Summary

Mindsets are simply beliefs, or ways of thinking. They may be conscious or subconscious, and, they “strongly affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it.”(3)

Much of what we think is our personality emanates from our mindset. For instance, if you believe you are funny or smart or athletic or creative or kind, etc, a lot of it originates from what you believe about yourself, and whether you think these traits are innate or things that can be cultivated. Consequently, “much of what may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential grows out of it [mindset]” (4)

For instance, “many people believe that a person is born either smart, average, or dumb—and stays that way for life. But new research shows that the brain is more like a muscle—it changes and gets stronger when you use it.”(253)

As a result, contrary to research, many people believe that intelligence or personality is something that is fixed or etched in stone, and cannot be developed or improved. This kind of belief certainly has an impact on the outcomes and accomplishments in one’s life.

Carol Dweck writes that there are two types of mindsets – fixed and growth. People with a fixed mindset believe that one’s basic traits and qualities are fixed and etched in stone. Meanwhile, those with a growth mindset believe that these traits and qualities can be cultivated and improved through the application of effort and deliberate practice.

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. (9)

Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? (9)

This is a description of the fixed mindset. Meanwhile, in the growth mindset:

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. (9)

In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. 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. (9)

Dweck asks, “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?” (7)

The view that you have of yourself, your mindset, has a powerful impact on the way you conduct your life and the things you believe about yourself. Your mindset affects the way you embrace challenges, setbacks, success, failure, the way you learn from others, how you handle criticism and how much effort you put into accomplishing things.  “It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.” (8)

Having a fixed mindset leads to a very judgmental, insecure way of living. If you believe your basic qualities are fixed and cannot be changed, then anything that challenges these qualities is to be avoided. For instance, you might believe that a test score is a reliable measure of your intelligence, and failing a test is a poor judgment of yourself and your value as a human being. It leads you to avoid being challenged and devalue effort, for fear of it indicating a failure and judgment of your worth.

The growth mindset, however, creates a powerful passion for learning.

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? (10)

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. (10)

In truth, most people are a mixture of growth and fixed mindsets. In some situations you may have a growth mindset, while in others, you might have a fixed mindset. What’s important to realize is that a mindset is simply a belief in our minds, and we can change our minds. We can change mindsets.

In a workshop devised by Dweck, children in middle school were taught learning and coping strategies. They were taught how the brain forms new connections and “grows” stronger when people practice and learn new things. These workshops helped shift the children into a growth mindset that provided lasting and persistent dividends.

The growth-mindset workshop—just eight sessions long—had a real impact…This one adjustment of students’ beliefs seemed to unleash their brain power and inspire them to work and achieve. (256)

The students in the other workshop did not improve. Despite their eight sessions of training in study skills and other good things, they showed no gains. Because they were not taught to think differently about their minds, they were not motivated to put the skills into practice. (256)

We are all capable of change. We must embrace the idea that we all have both mindsets, learn to recognize what circumstances or situations trigger our fixed mindset, and develop strategies to transition into a growth mindset.

Source: Carol S. Dweck

🌞Characteristics of a Fixed Mindset

  • …risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task. (13)
  • …people with the fixed mindset do not believe in putting in effort or getting help. (13)
  • From the point of view of the fixed mindset, effort is only for people with deficiencies. (49)
  • When do people with the fixed mindset thrive? When things are safely within their grasp. If things get too challenging—when they’re not feeling smart or talented—they lose interest. (27)
  • …in the fixed mindset it’s not enough just to succeed. It’s not enough just to look smart and talented. You have to be pretty much flawless. And you have to be flawless right away. (29)
  • People with the fixed mindset said [When asked when they feel smart]: “It’s when I don’t make any mistakes.” “When I finish something fast and it’s perfect.” “When something is easy for me, but other people can’t do it.” (29)
  • In short, people who believe in fixed traits feel an urgency to succeed, and when they do, they may feel more than pride. They may feel a sense of superiority, since success means that their fixed traits are better than other people’s.(38)
  • People in a fixed mindset often run away from their problems. If their life is flawed, then they’re flawed. It’s easier to make believe everything’s all right. (268)

🌞Characteristics of a Growth Mindset

  • The other thing exceptional people seem to have is a special talent for converting life’s setbacks into future successes. (15)
  • one belief lead to all this—the love of challenge, belief in effort, resilience in the face of setbacks, and greater (more creative!) success? (15)
  • People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it. The bigger the challenge, the more they stretch. (25)
  • But people with the growth mindset said [When asked when they feel smart]: “When it’s really hard, and I try really hard, and I can do something I couldn’t do before.” Or “[When] I work on something a long time and I start to figure it out.” For them it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress. (29)
  • People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower. (33) [They don’t believe that a single test could measure an important ability and don’t feel particularly defined by their test scores]
  • An assessment at one point in time has little value for understanding someone’s ability, let alone their potential to succeed in the future. (34)
  • …in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from. (39)

💡 Lessons

  1. Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk. They never decide it’s too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. (21)
  2. People are all born with a love of learning, but as we grow up, as soon as children are able to evaluate themselves, they fear being judged, and they become afraid of being seen as not smart. They develop a fixed mindset that causes them to become afraid of challenges and to become afraid of stretching themselves.
  3. The mindsets have an effect on the way we choose our partners and how we conduct our relationships.
    • People with fixed mindsets prefer relationships in which they are never judged and which validate and bolster their egos. Their ideal partner is one who worships them and never criticizes them. “People with the fixed mindset said the ideal mate would: Put them on a pedestal. Make them feel perfect. Worship them. (23)
    • People with growth mindsets prefer relationships which challenge them to grow (without unnecessarily undermining their self-esteem or being overly critical). People with growth mindsets say that their ideal partner “was someone who would: See their faults and help them to work on them. Challenge them to become a better person. Encourage them to learn new things.”(23)
  4. Mindsets change the meaning of failure.
    • In the fixed mindset, failure may become a haunting trauma that becomes a permanent part of one’s identity. “Failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure). ” (39)
    • Whereas, in the growth mindset, failure “can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.” (39)
  5. The fixed mindset causes people to blame others, to cheat, lie, and to shirk responsibility for their actions or behavior.
    • People with fixed mindsets seek to repair their self-esteem by looking for others who are even more worse off than they are.
      • College students, after doing poorly on a test, were given a chance to look at tests of other students. Those in the growth mindset looked at the tests of people who had done far better than they had. As usual, they wanted to correct their deficiency. But students in the fixed mindset chose to look at the tests of people who had done really poorly. That was their way of feeling better about themselves. (42)
    • People with fixed mindsets take little to no responsibility for their actions; they shirk blame and shift it to others.
      • Jeffrey Skilling, CEO of Enron, said the world did not understand his genius and what Enron was trying to do, and called the Justice Department’s investigation into Enron’s massive corporate deception a “witch hunt.” (43)
  6. Mindsets change the meaning of effort. People with the fixed mindset despise effort or having to work or try hard, while people with the growth mindset admire the power of effort to change your ability and look forward to being challenged.
    • In the fixed mindset, “effort is for those who don’t have the ability. “(47). “People with the fixed mindset tell us, “If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it.” They add, “Things come easily to people who are true geniuses.” (47). And, it’s not helpful that in many societies, we tend to value natural, “effortless” accomplishment over achievement accomplished through vigorous effort.
    • For people with the growth mindset, however, “even geniuses have to work hard for their achievements. And what’s so heroic…about having a gift? They may appreciate endowment, but they admire effort, for no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” (47)
  7. We are all a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. And, we can have different mindsets in different areas. For instance, I might think my writing skills can be developed, but I could believe that my dancing skills are fixed. Or that my math skills can be developed while my athletic ability is fixed.
  8. Fortunately, mindsets can be changed. “Mindsets are an important part of your personality, but you can change them. Just by knowing about the two mindsets, you can start thinking and reacting in new ways.” (54)
  9. Effort is important, but it’s not the only thing necessary for success. “Effort isn’t quite everything and that all effort is not created equal.”(55) Sometimes, you’ll try very hard and not succeed. While effort is extremely important, it’s not the only material ingredient for success.
    • People have different resources and opportunities. For instance, some people with money and/or rich parents have a safety net; they can afford to take more risks and keep trying for longer until they eventually succeed.
    • “People with easy access to a good education, people with a network of influential friends, people who know how to be in the right place at the right time—all stand a better chance of having their effort pay off. Rich, educated, connected effort works better.” (55)
    • Meanwhile, “people with fewer resources, in spite of their best efforts, can be derailed so much more easily.”(55)
  10. The growth mindset doesn’t mean everything that can be changed should be changed…The growth mindset is a starting point for change, but people need to decide for themselves where their efforts toward change would be most valuable”. (58)
  11. The mindsets are not about having or lacking confidence. People with fixed mindsets can have a lot of confidence. However, “their confidence is more fragile since setbacks and even effort can undermine it.” (59) However, in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence. “Even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it….Actually, sometimes you plunge into something because you’re not good at it. This is a wonderful feature of the growth mindset. You don’t have to think you’re already great at something to want to do it and to enjoy doing it.” (61)
  12. We often think that certain people (Edison, Einstein, Da Vinci, etc) are “natural geniuses”. We think they possess immense “gifts” or natural talent, and just came about their accomplishments “naturally”. However, “with the right mindset and the right teaching, people are capable of a lot more than we think.” (73). You may not become an Einstein, Da Vinci, or a Newton, but with curiosity, persistence, and consistency of effort, you may come closer than you think. “Most often people believe that the “gift” is the ability itself. Yet what feeds it is that constant, endless curiosity and challenge seeking.” (72)
    • Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training. (78)
  13. We all have the potential to improve our learning abilities, but it is dependent on the learning environment and strategies. Benjamin Bloom, an eminent educational researcher, studied 120 outstanding achievers. He concluded, “After forty years of intensive research on school learning in the United States as well as abroad, my major conclusion is: What any person in the world can learn, almost all persons can learn, if provided with the appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.” (75)
  14. Don’t praise intelligence or talent; praise effort and work ethic. Praising children’s ability or talent pushes them into a fixed mindset.
    • When children are praised for ability or “natural talent” or “accomplishments”, they develop an aversion to doing anything demanding or difficult that might challenge these “natural” talents. “They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their flaws and call into question their talent.” (81)
    • Studies have shown that praising kids’ abilities actually lowers their IQ. Praising ability and talent leads kids down the path of entitlement, dependence (on external approval), and makes them less resilient and more fragile.
    • Rather, praise children for making an effort and trying hard. Figure out growth-minded ways to compliment their effort and achievements. Praise them for taking initiative, for seeing a difficult task through, for struggling and learning something new, for being undaunted by a setback, or for being open to and acting on criticism (153)
  15. Having a growth mindset helps people to better deal with the harmful effects of negative stereotypes or labels frequently attached to issues of gender or race.
    • “The growth mindset takes the teeth out of the stereotype and makes people better able to fight back. They don’t believe in permanent inferiority. And if they are behind—well, then they’ll work harder, seek help, and try to catch up.” (85).
    • Meanwhile, “in the fixed mindset, both positive and negative labels can mess with your mind. When you’re given a positive label, you’re afraid of losing it, and when you’re hit with a negative label, you’re afraid of deserving it.” (85)
  16. “Sports is where the idea of “a natural” comes from—someone who looks like an athlete, moves like an athlete, and is an athlete, all without trying” (92) We think world class athletes simply have something, a gift, that the rest of us mere mortals lack, and that’s the secret of their success. We believe that natural talent does not require effort. Effort is for the less naturally talented. What we fail to see is the effort, training, resilience, consistency, and growth mindset that many of these outstanding athletes demonstrate.
    • Malcolm Gladwell suggests that “people prize natural endowment over earned ability” (100), and that “as much as our culture talks about individual effort and self-improvement, deep down, …we revere the naturals”. (100)
    • “We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.” (100)
  17. The “Natural”
    • Muhammed Ali was not a “natural” at boxing. “He had great speed but he didn’t have the physique of a great fighter, he didn’t have the strength, and he didn’t have the classical moves.” (94) “In fact, he boxed all wrong. He didn’t block punches with his arms and elbows. He punched in rallies like an amateur. He kept his jaw exposed.” (94)
    • But aside from his quickness, Ali’s brilliance was his mind. His brains, not his brawn. He sized up his opponent and went for his mental jugular. Not only did he study (Sonny) Liston’s fighting style, but he closely observed what kind of person Liston was out of the ring (95):
    • Ali said: “I read everything I could where he had been interviewed. I talked with people who had been around him or had talked with him. I would lay in bed and put all of the things together and think about them, and try to get a picture of how his mind worked.” And then he turned it against him. (95)
    • We just look back at Ali now, with our hindsight, and see the body of a great boxer….It was gravy that his mind was so sharp and that he made up amusing poems, but we still think his greatness resided in his physique. And we don’t understand how the experts failed to see that greatness right from the start. (96)
  18. Mindsets also impact leadership and the success of organizations, companies, and even countries.
    • “Fixed-mindset leaders, like fixed-mindset people in general, live in a world where some people are superior and some are inferior. “(125) “Instead of building an extraordinary management team…., they operated on the fixed-mindset premise that great geniuses do not need great teams. They just need little helpers to carry out their brilliant ideas.” (125)
    • Fixed-mindset leaders also usually have the power “to make people worse off…. When bosses mete out humiliation, a change comes over the place. Everything starts revolving around pleasing the boss.”(137-138)
    • When bosses become controlling and abusive, they put everyone into a fixed mindset. This means that instead of learning, growing, and moving the company forward, everyone starts worrying about being judged. (139) It leads to groupthink and a corporate culture where constructive dissent is discouraged.
    • Whereas growth-minded leaders are “constantly trying to improve. They surround themselves with the most able people they can find, they look squarely at their own mistakes and deficiencies, and they ask frankly what skills they and the company will need in the future.” (123)
    • An organization might embody a fixed mindset, conveying that employees either “have it” or they don’t: We called this a “culture of genius.” Or it might embody more of a growth mindset, conveying that people can grow and improve with effort, good strategies, and good mentoring: We call this a “culture of development.” (159)
  19. Mindsets also impact relationships, including friendships, marriages, and other social interactions. “People with a fixed mindset expect everything good to happen automatically.” (168). Thus, in relationships, they tend to believe that “if we need to work at it, there’s something seriously wrong with our relationship.” (169)
    • Says John Gottman, a foremost relationship researcher: “Every marriage demands an effort to keep it on the right track; there is a constant tension…between the forces that hold you together and those that can tear you apart.” (169)
    • A no-effort relationship is a doomed relationship, not a great relationship. It takes work to communicate accurately and it takes work to expose and resolve conflicting hopes and beliefs. (172)
  20. Mindsets impact parenting and teaching.
    • After seven experiments with hundreds of children, we had some of the clearest findings I’ve ever seen: Praising children’s intelligence harms their motivation and it harms their performance. (197)
    • Yes, children love praise. And they especially love to be praised for their intelligence and talent. It really does give them a boost, a special glow—but only for the moment. The minute they hit a snag, their confidence goes out the window and their motivation hits rock bottom. If success means they’re smart, then failure means they’re dumb. That’s the fixed mindset. (197)
    • Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence—like a gift—by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect…It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. (199)
    • 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, seek new strategies, and keep on learning. (199)
    • Praise is important, but be careful to use the right kind of praise. Stay away from praise that judges intelligence or talent, and focus more on praise that appreciates their effort and the work they put in to achieving their goals.
    • We can appreciate them as much as we want for the growth-oriented process—what they accomplished through practice, study, persistence, and good strategies. And we can ask them about their work in a way that recognizes and shows interest in their efforts and choices. (200)
    • Haim Ginott, through his lifelong work with children, came to the same conclusion. “Praise should deal, not with the child’s personality attributes, but with his efforts and achievements.” (201)
    • Children need honest and constructive feedback. If children are “protected” from it, they won’t learn well. They will experience advice, coaching, and feedback as negative and undermining. Withholding constructive criticism does not help children’s confidence; it harms their future. (205)
    • When parents give their children a fixed-mindset ideal, they are asking them to fit the mold of the brilliant, talented child, or be deemed unworthy. There is no room for error. And there is no room for the children’s individuality—their interests, their quirks, their desires and values. (217). Consequently, when things go wrong or they encounter setbacks and challenges, fixed-mindset children feel helpless, powerless, and incapable.
    • When parents help their children construct growth-minded ideals, they are giving them something they can strive for. They are also giving their children growing room, room to grow into full human beings who will make their contribution to society in a way that excites them. (217)
  21. Success can be more dangerous than failure because it can lull you into complacency, and make you less likely to work as hard as you did before. [Coach Pat] Summitt explained, “Success lulls you. It makes the most ambitious of us complacent and sloppy.” (236)
  22. A growth mindset is about more than just effort. It’s also about “trying new strategies when the one they’re using isn’t working.” (238) You don’t just want to keep on trying the same old strategies over and over again even when it’s obviously not working. You should also be open to feedback, assistance, and constructive criticism from others. In essence, a growth mindset involves: “hard work, trying new strategies, and seeking input from others.” (239)
  23. Don’t praise effort that’s not there. “In all of our research on praise, we indeed praise the process, but we tie it to the outcome, that is, to children’s learning, progress, or achievements. Children need to understand that engaging in that process helped them learn.” (239)
  24. Don’t try to create a growth mindset by telling kids they can do anything. “It doesn’t happen by simply telling them, “You can do anything.” It happens by helping them gain the skills and find the resources to make progress toward their goals. Otherwise, it’s an empty reassurance.”(240)
  25. How to create a growth mindset in children:
    • Adults’ mindsets are in their heads and are not directly visible to children. Adults’ overt actions speak far louder, and this is what children are picking up on. Unfortunately, these actions often don’t line up with the growth mindsets in adults’ heads. (242)
    • Parents’ praise molds their children’s mindsets. (242)
    • It’s the way adults respond to their children’s mistakes or failures.
      • Every single day parents are teaching their children whether mistakes, obstacles, and setbacks are bad things or good things. The parents who treat them as good things are more likely to pass on a growth mindset to their children. (243)
    • Are teachers teaching for understanding or are they simply asking students to memorize facts, rules, and procedures? (243)
    • Parents, teachers, and coaches pass on a growth mindset not by having a belief sitting in their heads but by embodying a growth mindset in their deeds: the way they praise (conveying the processes that lead to learning), the way they treat setbacks (as opportunities for learning), and the way they focus on deepening understanding (as the goal of learning). (244)
  26. In the end, many people with the fixed mindset understand that their cloak of specialness was really a suit of armor they built to feel safe, strong, and worthy. While it may have protected them early on, later it constricted their growth, sent them into self-defeating battles, and cut them off from satisfying, mutual relationships. (268)
  27. Change needs to be maintained, and you need to adopt habits and strategies for maintaining a growth mindset. “For your growth mindset to bear fruit, you need to keep setting goals—goals for growth. Every day presents you with ways to grow and to help the people you care about grow.” (289)
    • In your daily life, keep an active look out for opportunities for learning and growth
    • Form a plan to take advantage of these opportunities
      • Figure out when, where, and how
      • Take concrete actions to make your plan a reality
    • As you encounter the inevitable obstacles and setbacks, form a new plan
    • When you succeed, figure out the habits and strategies required to maintain and continue the growth.

💪🏾Actionable Advice

  • Next time you feel low, put yourself in a growth mindset—think about learning, challenge, confronting obstacles. Think about effort as a positive, constructive force, not as a big drag. Try it out. (62)
  • Don’t praise your kids’ achievements or talents. Praise their efforts. Every word and action from parent to child sends a message. Watch how you use praise; whether you tend to praise ability and talent, or if you tend to praise effort and development.
  • Picture your ideal love relationship. Does it involve perfect compatibility—no disagreements, no compromises, no hard work? Please think again. In every relationship, issues arise. Try to see them from a growth mindset: Problems can be a vehicle for developing greater understanding and intimacy. (194)
  • Think of something you need to do, something you want to learn, or a problem you have to confront. What is it? Now make a concrete plan. When will you follow through on your plan? Where will you do it? How will you do it? Think about it in vivid detail….These concrete plans—plans you can visualize—about when, where, and how you are going to do something lead to really high levels of follow-through, which, of course, ups the chances of success. (263)

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