Monday, March 17, 2008

The Right Mindset

My sis sent me this excellent link about the work of Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, and her book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success".

While I urge you to read the article completely, I will highlight a few points here which appealed to me particularly.

I have always wondered what it is that makes some people successful. Why they strive, achieve, and reach where they want to, and go further. Why what works for one doesn't work for another. Is it motivation? Is it innate talent? Is it the ability to work hard?

Carol Dweck tried to figure it out, and...

The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.

What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance.

When she tried to explore why some people treated obstacles as challenges, where other people became discouraged by it, she found...

People who attributed their failures to lack of ability [...] would become discouraged even in areas where they were capable. Those who thought they simply hadn’t tried hard enough, on the other hand, would be fueled by setbacks.

Her research led her to conclude that there are two kinds of people - Those with "Learning Goals", and those with "Performance Goals", i.e. The former want to increase their ability, while the latter want to show off their ability.

People with performance goals, she reasoned, think intelligence is fixed from birth. People with learning goals have a growth mind-set about intelligence, believing it can be developed.

See this excellent diagram for the complete picture.

There is one more important thing that she says.

But aren’t there plenty of people who believe in innate ability and in the notion that nothing comes without effort? Logically, the two ideas are compatible. But psychologically, explains Dweck, many people who believe in fixed intelligence also think you shouldn’t need hard work to do well. [...] “The fallacy comes when people generalize it to the belief that effort on any task, even very hard ones, implies low ability,” Dweck says.

If you have been reading through this and increasingly feeling that you are one of those with a fixed mind-set, there is hope for you. Dweck says it is definitely possible to change your beliefs.

Dweck has also applied her theory to kids' moral education. Here's a sample - of how to motivate your child.

Reading this article has set my brain whirring. I hope it does the same to you.


praneshachar said...

I have gone thro ur observations for
the time being looks to be very interesting I will read the full article in leisure. thanks for the immediate summary which I run thro and quite impressed by ur comments and the authors version


Raj said...

Ha, I remember my pathetic, fatherly attempt last year, after reading the same article that you have cited here. ( But, that aside, this is a very interesting article.

PeeVee said...

Vow.. so much hard work on this post. I'm leaving a comment only because there are only 2! :( else I would have mailed you. Great summary. That figure is something I hadn't seen! Everyone (who needs it), should take a printout of it and post it on their walls!

Anonymous said...

fascinating article. I mightve missed some points but for your excerpts - thanks a lot.


Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating

George Bernard Shaw
(1856-1950, Irish-born British Dramatist


Prashant M Shirol said...

nice one. i think, the book. 7 habits of effective people, is all about this concept only.
I bought it and started but couldn't finish it..

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