This Growth vs. fixed mindset video was posted on my daughter’s class website and inspired me to read the book Mindset, describing the difference between these ways of thinking when learning and dealing with the challenges of daily life. I found it interesting that this author quoted one of my favourite leadership books, Good to Great, and drew parallels between her work and the success of leaders who had growth mindsets. The growth mindset focuses on stretching, challenging and working hard to improve and learn new things. This includes learning through failures. As I describe the book, i have chosen to focus on the growth mindset from the perspective of appreciative inquiry, focusing on the strengths to “create not just new worlds but better worlds” (David Cooperrider).
This book described the movie Ground Hog Day (incidentally, this was my first date movie when I met my husband) and how Bill Murray’s character had fixed mindset of judging others and an attitude of superiority. Until he changed his attitude and started caring about others he kept waking up to repeat the same day over and over again. Deck also described tennis bad boy, John McEnroe and his epic temper tantrums due to his fixed mindset and belief that he was better than others. In comparison, she used many other positive examples like Magic Johnson and Jack Welch.
The author shared that while talent is helpful, attitude and mindset is more important. Brain growth is enhanced by challenge and learning. Fixed mindsets don’t understand the importance of hard work and dealing with set backs while growth mindsets learn and improve through dealing with challenges and consider failures as opportunities. The benefits of a growth mindset was described in settings of sports, leadership in business, education and in relationships.
“As growth-minded leaders, they start with a belief in human potential and development – both their own and other people’s”
Growth minded leaders don’t point the finger of blame and help others fix problems and grow together. They also understand the importance of praising effort, practice, study and perseverance. Hiring a team that focuses on the process and a commitment to learning and improvement is key to a strong, quality team. Knowing that great learning comes from trial and error, having a tolerance for failure as a way of learning is essential.
“When you learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger. The more that you challenge your mind to learn, the more your brain cells grow.”
This book is a great read for leaders, teachers, parents and partners – anyone that is working with others. It gives concrete examples of both mindsets and helpful suggestions to work towards a growth mindset. It is an easy read that helps the reader to reflect and grow.