You Are What You Think

“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck peeked into my reading list after being recommended by Bill gates in his blog, gatesnotes. Even from the initial chapters, I felt like the book was very much inspired from the books ‘Talent is Overrated’ and ‘Outliers’. Or it could just be my opinion as I have read both and the book at hand had so much overlapping ideas from the former ones

The whole book basically talks about the two mindsets we, humans possess: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. As the name suggests, fixed mindset people are the ones who strongly believe that they are what they are born with. In the fixed mindset itself, there are two spectrum of people, the ones who believes they are superior to others and the ones who think they are inferior. And I guess the latter one is more common.

The author throughout the book cites different examples ,from history and our daily lives, of both types of fixed mindset; the ones who got to the pinnacle of their careers and later spiral downed to failure due to their fixed mindset and the ones who even failed to take off!

The second type of mindset that’s being discussed in the book is growth mindset. These are the people who believe that anything and everything could be achieved through practice and patience. These are not the flick achievers we see but the ones who have made it to the top and stayed there till the end of their lives and beyond. In Dweck’s words, these are people who believe that “a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable) and it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil and training”

The book interestingly contrasts how different mindset people approach different problem. While the fixed mindset people sees a failure as devaluation of themselves and success as proof of being worthy, the growth mindset people see both as opportunities for improvement.

When you look all this in a bigger perspective, you can see that your mindset determines, a lot more than you think of, what you become in life! The author also shows us how teachers and parents have a huge influence on what mindset we adopt, early in our lives. The book concludes with the workshop she and her colleagues have developed to shift students from a fixed to a growth mindset. So this is a must read for the parents and teachers who want to mold a new generation of ‘outliers’.

The book is very much oversimplified for general audience and could have been trimmed down. For someone who hasn’t read Outliers or Talent is Overrated, this book could be motivational and could enhance how you approach life and problems in life.

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