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Learning to be successful

Posted 04-01-2009 at 10:05 AM by deebeelicious
Updated 04-01-2009 at 10:09 AM by deebeelicious
I read this article, and have been meaning to mention it for awhile, but been too busy ...


The article describes 2 types of outlook that people can have, a 'fixed' mindset and a 'growth' mindset. The author explains how to encourage a child to develop a growth mindset which is more likely to lead to success. But I don't think it's just kids that could do with an opening of their minds?

The whole article is there, but I'll pick out some choice quotes;
How successful you are depends on your mindset, not just luck or innate genius. Believing you can improve by practice, rather than thinking talent is fixed, makes all the difference, says psychologist Carol Dweck.

People with a fixed mindset believe their basic qualities are carved in stone, so they are concerned about making their abilities look good. Those with a growth mindset believe their basic abilities can be cultivated through dedication and education. They are more concerned with stretching themselves. We've shown that a growth mindset orients you towards learning, whereas a fixed mindset makes you wary of challenges. If the learning involves risk of failure, those with a fixed mindset are more likely to pass it up.

What is your advice to parents who want to avoid trapping their children in a fixed mindset?
First, teach your child the growth mindset, and then praise effort, strategy and improvement. Do not praise intelligence and talent. This harms them.

There are lots of self-help books urging us to adopt a positive attitude. How does your approach differ?
There's evidence behind it. Second, many of these books are lists of what you should do - have confidence and so on - but they don't reveal how you do that. I identify a core belief that creates a whole psychological world in which you might prefer to live.
I've just gone to her web-site, which unfortunately charges for the course (not surprising as we all have to eat I suppose). https://www.brainology.us/

I won't try that course, but I will definitely consider buying her book, which appears to have good reviews.
Total Comments 3


  • Old Comment
    Excellent article, DB!

    What is your advice to parents who want to avoid trapping their children in a fixed mindset?
    First, teach your child the growth mindset, and then praise effort, strategy and improvement. Do not praise intelligence and talent. This harms them.

    I actually think this is the best advice in the whole article. Too many times, children (and adults) are praised for intelligence or talent, and then when they fail (as we all do at something sometime), not only does it create an avoidance behavior, but it can actually affect the self-image.

    The child has been praised for being so intelligent - and then they fail a test, or get a less than satisfactory grade. Suddenly they're thinking, I've not only failed when I shouldn't have, I'm a disappointment to my parents. Or maybe I'm not as intelligent as they believe. I don't deserve their praise because I'm not intelligent.

    On the other hand, I think it's possible to go too gung-ho in the other direction as well. People think they can do better if they just work harder at it, and if they still fail, they feel they just haven't worked hard enough. It's their own fault they can't do something. So they work even harder, always pushing themselves to the point where they end up unhappy and ill.

    I think people should definitely go for the growth mindset - but I also think parents should teach their kids that it's okay to fail now and then. That some things just aren't their thing. It's important to try (and honestly try), but it's just as important to learn when failing means try a new trail, not keep banging your head into the wall.

    Does that sound like that darn balance thing again?
    Posted 04-01-2009 at 11:50 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Thx O!
    It saddens me to think that as a society, after 12 years of schooling etc, kids leave still not knowing:

    1. Their learning style - how they as individuals learn, eg visually, aurally or kinesically.
    Knowing how one learns, one can then optimise how to learn something using the method that best fits oneself!

    2. What one's talents/aptitudes is/are.
    This should be identified early, and if the child is interested, then they should be encouraged to cultivate and development it/them.

    3. Don't know what to call this last one, but it is what Ostarella describes above - learning when to walk away, ie when not to flogg a dead horse?

    With these 3 under one's belt, surely success is around the corner?
    Posted 04-02-2009 at 03:26 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    It sure is a good start! With these 3 guidelines as a basis and an open mind, I bet one can travel the world, try out everything and - overall - be a successful and happy human being. Good article, Deebee!
    Posted 04-11-2009 at 02:06 AM by asmay asmay is offline
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