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Time for a New “Mindset”? – A Book Review

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The subtitle of Carol Dweck’s book, “Mindset,” says it all: ”How we can learn to fulfill our potential.”

In my work with clients, I am continually studying and learning about how we can all increase our potential. This book describes and gives numerous examples of how changing our mindset can and will do just that. It is essentially a how-to guide for becoming our better selves.

The mindsets are described in Dweck’s book as either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is anchored in the belief that qualities are carved in stone or that IQ is predetermined. People with this mindset are focused on proving themselves and trying to look intelligent.

The growth mindset, conversely, is described as the belief that one’s basic qualities are things that we can cultivate through effort. The growth mindset in children and adults has been shown to lead to extraordinary talent and success. Examples in the book include artist Jackson Pollack, athlete Michael Jordan and GE business leader Jack Welch. These individuals all shared a common trait: learning, practice and effort were at the root of their success. They also seemed to have a special talent for turning life’s setbacks into future successes.

One key to achieving a growth mindset is to seek out accurate information about your current abilities to learn effectively. Have you asked anyone recently to give you feedback?  Where do you have a blind spot to your effectiveness on certain skills or tasks in your leadership and talents? Where is your mindset about a non-growth-focused project – that is, focusing instead on what you could learn from the project?  How would a growth mindset – and its impact on helping others realize their potential – benefit your team, your family and your own potential? And how can you authentically assess your mindset?

I would recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position, or who works with children, or is in a relationship. The book addresses these areas and demonstrates how tapping into the growth mindset can shift the project, relationship, and your happiness.

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