Have you heard of Carol Dweck’s research on mindset? It was popularized in her book by that title, Mindset.
Here is her TED Talk on her research:
I was blessed to have read about her research while studying education at the University of Notre Dame in 2004-2005. I also got to apply her work to coaching while working for the sports education program Play Like A Champion Today.
But it wasn’t until I actually read her book this month that I realized there are actually two kinds of fixed mindsets.
First of all, someone with a growth mindset embraces learning. They accept challenges as opportunities to grow. They enjoy the process more than the outcome.
Someone with a fixed mindset on the other hand, sees their intelligence and abilities as fixed. They believe they are either talented or not.
There are actually two types of fixed mindsets.
One seems obvious. We don’t want people to think they are doomed to be dumb. If they think of themselves as untalented and unable to succeed, then they won’t try to improve. They will fail because they lack the perseverance to push through challenges and learn to succeed.
The second kind of fixed mindset may be surprising.
We don’t want people to think they are talented. We want to encourage confidence, of course, but we also want to ensure that people will continue to grow and get better no matter how talented they may think they are.
LeBron James was a gifted athlete in high school but he became great because he got better and bigger year after year. Other star players fail in the pros because they don’t push through adversity and seek to get better. When they fail, they think it is because they weren’t good enough and that they can’t get better. A growth mindset athlete always knows she can get better.
Success can be debilitating. Think of the author or musician who creates a big hit. That next work of art may never be as good as the early success. As a result they are afraid to fail. They often fade in popularity because they never create their next work of art.
With both fixed mindsets, the result is the same. People don’t try and they don’t grow.
I created this video to explain these two kinds of fixed mindsets: