There are interesting insight, facts, and pieces of advice in every minute of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck. It was tough to narrow them down to my favorites, but the following quotes are some of the pieces of advice that stayed with me long after I finished listening to Mindset.
1. On challenging kids
So what should we say when children complete a task—say, math problems—quickly and perfectly? Should we deny them the praise they have earned? Yes. When this happens, I say, ‘Whoops. I guess that was too easy. I apologize for wasting your time. Let’s do something you can really learn from!’”
2. On our innate desire to learn
What on earth would make someone a nonlearner? 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.”
3. On confidence
Question: Are people with the fixed mindset simply lacking in confidence? No. People with the fixed mindset have just as much confidence as people with the growth mindset—before anything happens, that is. But as you can imagine, their confidence is more fragile since setbacks and even effort can undermine it.”
4. On sending messages to children or subordinates
Every word and action can send a message. It tells children—or students, or athletes—how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed-mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth-mindset message that says: You are a developing person and I am interested in your development.”
5. On idolization
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. Why not? To me that is so much more amazing.”
6. On praise
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. How can that be? Don’t children love to be praised? 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.”
7. On stretching yourself
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? 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.”
What’s your favorite piece of advice from Mindset? Leave it in the comments below. Haven’t read it yet? Check out our Mindset page.