Mindset: a book anyone can benefit from
How often do you read a book so useful it should be part of the guide to being an amazing human? My first pick would be Mindset and I hope you will too.
I made personal growth my top priority this year, and the posts I am writing on my experiences this year span tens of thousands of words. To me this represents the tip of the iceberg of thought and effort I put into growth. Even after all of this I still benefited from reading Mindset, a book just about adopting growth as a mindset. If I can find something to learn from every single chapter of this book, I am certain that any of you can. Lesson #1 is that the fixed mindset can hide in any aspect of ourselves. We often unconsciously protect this from ourselves to shield our ego or never notice it because we weren’t looking. Each fragment of fixed mindset rooted out gives us the opportunity for greater happiness and more success as we embrace our untapped potential.
Mindset seems like a deceptively simple book at first, which is a good thing since it means anyone can read it. The true power comes from considering the different ways to re-frame how you think as you read. The first chapter seemed obvious and repetitive to me. Then I realized I spent the last couple years learning the lessons within. The lessons of growth are timeless in relevance. At every step of our life we make the choice to close ourselves off and stagnate or to grow. Many wise people have observed that growth is to live as stagnation is to death. Who wants to die right now?(neurochemical imbalances of depression aside) In the face of that I believe a life of growth is always the better choice. Don’t you?
While reading I got hit hardest when I remembered all the times I harshly deflected feedback in the past. If you ever gave me feedback in the past you will recognize that I built heavily entrenched defenses against it. When every critique including those on a draft essay is a red mark on your intelligence. The obvious solution is to block out that feedback or verbally spar the person who dares question your intelligence. I have definitely had times where I put more effort into defending my work than I did in actually creating it; what a waste! This is common, our bias as humans is that the loss in our minds is by default greater than an equal amount of reward we could get from improving. I have to make sure to re-frame each honest critique as a choice to think more deeply and become smarter as a result. If there is no loss in the first place the reward of improvement always wins.
Still, sometimes we perceive feedback as a personal attack. Sometimes it is too. As it turns out, not giving a rip about people’s “feedback” and opinions is really useful on the internet. Context matters when personal attacks with no thought behind them litter the internet disguised as “feedback”. Even on the internet some websites like Quora are remarkably full of people who care enough to give thoughtful feedback. For people we know who care though, their feedback is certainly worth thinking through.
Whoever, whenever, and wherever you are you can find growth from reading Mindset like I did. I will still be learning from this book for years to come. I hope you will take the time to read it thoughtfully and openly. In stark contrast to the internet troll, Carol Dweck writes with the strongest desire to help you.