ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY
OF SECULAR SCIENCE STARS
June 28, 2020
The new psychology of success:
How We Can Learn to
Fulfill Our Potential
Carol S. Dweck.
Random House, 2006, 2016 updated
(i-xi, 301 pages)
[Numbers in parentheses = page numbers]
note = “At the end of each chapter and throughout the last chapter, I show you ways to apply the lessons—ways to recognize the mindset that is guiding your life, to understand how it works, and to change it if you wish.” (x)
note = “A little note about grammar. I know it and l love it, but l have not always followed it in this book. I start sentences with ands and buts. I end sentences with prepositions. I use the plural 'they' in contexts that require the singular 'he' or 'she'. I have done this for informality and immediacy, and I hope that grammar sticklers will forgive me.” (x)
note = “A little note on this updated edition. I felt it was important to add new information to some of the chapters. I added our new study on organizational mindsets to chapter 5 (Business). Yes, a whole organization can have a mindset! I added a new section on “false growth mindset” to chapter 7 (Parents, Teachers, and Coaches) after I learned about the many creative ways people were interpreting and implementing the growth mindset, not always accurately. And I added ‘The Journey to a (True) Growth Mindset’ to chapter 8 (Changing Mindsets) because many people have asked for more information on how to take that journey. I hope these updates are helpful.” (x)
1) THE MINDSETS (3-14)
 Why Do People Differ? (4-)
2 INSIDE THE MINDSETS (15-54)
 What Does All This Mean for You? The Two Mindsets (6-)
 A View from the Two Mindsets (7-)
note = The definitions of the "fixed mindset" and the "growth mindset" grew out of research questions that asked students how they would feel in slightly negative situations and what they would do to recover! (7-9)
 So, What’s New? (9-)
 Self-insight --- Who Has Accurate Views of Their Assets and Limitations? (11-)
 What’s in Store (11-14)
 Is Success About Learning --- Or Proving You Are Smart? (16-)
3) THE TRUTH ABOUT ABILITY AND ACCOMPLISHMENT (55-81)
 Mindsets --- Change the Meaning of Failure (32-
 Mindset --- Change the Meaning of Effort (39-
 Questions and Answers (45-54)
 Mindset and School Achievement (57-
4) SPORTS — THE MINDSET OF A CHAMPION (82-107)
 Is Artistic Ability a Gift? (67-
 The Danger of Praise and Positive Labels (71-
 Negative Labels and How They work (74-81)
 The Idea of the Natural (83-
5) BUSINESS --- Mindset and leadership (108-146)
 “Character” (91-
 What Is Success? (98-
 What Is Failure? (99-
 Taking Charge of Success (101-
 What Does It Mean to Be a Star? (103-
 Hearing the Mindsets (105-107)
note = How to grow your "sports" mindset (107)
 Enron and the Talent Mindset (108-
6. RELATIONSHIPS — Mindsets in love or not (147-175)
 Organizations That Grow (109-
 A Study of Mindset and Management Decisions (111-
 Leadership and the Fixed Mindset (112-
 Fixed-Mindset Leaders in Action (114-
 Growth-Mindset Leaders in Action (124-
note = Use - Beliefs are the key to happiness: and to misery (224-225)
 A Study of Group Processes (133-
note = Use - Mindsets go further (225-226)
 Groupthink vs We Think (134-136)
 The Praised Generation Hits the Workforce (136-
 Are Negotiators Born or Made? (137-
 Corporate Training --- Are Managers Born or Made? (139-
 Are Leaders Born or Made? (141-
note = How to create a growth-mindset environment in which people can thrive: (141)
 Organizational Mindsets (142-146)
(1) Present skills as learnable; (2) Convey that the organization values learning and perseverance, not just ready-made genius or talent; (3) Give feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success; and (4) Present managers as resources for learning.
note = "Without a belief in human development, many corporate training programs become exercises with limited value. [However,] with belief in development, such programs give meaning to the terms 'human resources' and become a means of tapping enormous potential." (141)
 Relationships Are Different (150-
7) PARENTS. TEACHERS, AND COACHES: Where do mindsets come from? (176-222)
 Mindsets Falling in Love (151-
 The Partner as Enemy (160-
 Competition — Who is the Greatest? (161-
 Developing in Relationships (162-
 Friendship (163-
 Shyness (166-
 Bullies and Victims --- Revenge Revisited (168-175)
 Parents (and Teachers): Messages About Success and Failure (177-
8) CHANGING MINDSETS (page 223-264)
 Teachers (and Parents): What Makes a Great Teacher; or Parent? (196-
 Coaches --- Winning Through Mindset (205-
 False Growth Mindset (214-
 Our Legacy (221-222)
 The Nature of Change (223-
 The Mindset Lectures (226-
 A Mindset Workshop (228-
 Brainology (231-
 More About Change (234-
 Opening Yourself Up to Growth (236-
 People Who Don’t Want to Change (240-
 Changing Your Child’s Mindset (244-
 Mindset and Willpower (249-
 Maintaining Change (252-
 The journey to a --- True --- Growth Mindset (254-
 Learn and Help Learn (262-
 The Road Ahead (264)
RECOMMENDED BOOKS (287-288)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (unpaged two pages after 301)
AUTHOR NOTES, SUMMARY,
AND BOOK DESCRIPTION
AUTHOR NOTES = Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is widely regarded as one of the world's leading researchers in the fields of personality, social psychology, and developmental psychology. She is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and has won nine lifetime achievement awards for her research. She addressed the United Nations on the eve of their new global development plan and has advised governments on educational and economic policies. Her work has been featured in almost every major national publication.
SUMMARY = The updated edition of the book that has changed millions of lives with its insights into the growth mindset. After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset.
BOOK DESCRIPTION = In this brilliant updated book, Dweck shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset --- those who believe that abilities are fixed --- are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset --- those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
In this revised edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love --- to transform their lives and your own.
PRAISE FOR MINDSET
 A good book is one whose advice you believe. A great book is one whose advice you follow. This is a book that can change your life, as its ideas have changed mine. -- Robert J. Sternberg, co-author of Teaching for Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity, and Success
 An essential read for parents, teachers [and] coaches . . . as well as for those who would like to increase their own feelings of success and fulfillment. -- Library Journal (starred review)
 Everyone should read this book. -- Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick
 One of the most influential books ever about motivation. -- Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock
 If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset . -- Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start 2.0
EXCERPTS - CHAPTER 1
As a young researcher, just starting out, something happened that changed my life. I was obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures, and I decided to study it by watching how students grapple with hard problems. So I brought children one at a time to a room in their school, made them comfortable, and then gave them a series of puzzles to solve. The first ones were fairly easy, but the next ones were hard. As the students grunted, perspired, and toiled, I watched their strategies and probed what they were thinking and feeling. I expected differences among children in how they coped with the difficulty, but I saw something I never expected.
Confronted with the hard puzzles, one ten-year-old boy pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips, and cried out, "I love a challenge!" Another, sweating away on these puzzles, looked up with a pleased expression and said with authority, "You know, I was hoping this would be informative!" What's wrong with them? I wondered. I always thought you coped with failure or you didn't cope with failure. I never thought anyone loved failure. Were these alien children or were they on to something?
Everyone has a role model, someone who pointed the way at a critical moment in their lives. These children were my role models. They obviously knew something I didn't and I was determined to figure it out — to understand the kind of mindset that could turn a failure into a gift. What did they know? They knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated through effort. And that is what they were doing — getting smarter. Not only were they not discouraged by failure, they did not even think they were failing. They thought they were learning.
I, on the other hand, thought human qualities were carved in stone. You were smart or you weren't, and failure meant you weren't. It was that simple. If you could arrange successes and avoid failures (at all costs), you could stay smart. Struggles, mistakes, perseverance were just not part of this picture. Whether human qualities are things that can be cultivated or things that are carved in stone is an old issue. What these beliefs mean for you is a new one: What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait? Let's first look in on the age-old, fiercely waged debate about human nature and then return to the question of what these beliefs mean for you.
WHY DO PEOPLE DIFFER?
Since the dawn of time, people have thought differently, acted differently, and fared differently from each other. It was guaranteed that someone would ask the question of why people differed--why some people are smarter or more moral--and whether there was something that made them permanently different. Experts lined up on both sides. Some claimed that there was a strong physical basis for these differences, making them unavoidable and unalterable.
Through the ages, these alleged physical differences have included bumps on the skull (phrenology), the size and shape of the skull (craniology), and, today, genes. Others pointed to the strong differences in people's backgrounds, experiences, training, or ways of learning. It may surprise you to know that a big champion of this view was Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test. Wasn't the IQ test meant to summarize children's unchangeable intelligence? In fact, no. Binet, a Frenchman working in Paris in the early 20th century, designed this test to identify children who were not profiting from the Paris public schools, so that new educational programs could be designed to get them back on track.
Without denying individual differences in children's intellects, he believed that education and practice could bring about fundamental changes in intelligence. Here is a quote from one of his major books, Modern Ideas About Children, in which he summarizes his work with hundreds of children with learning difficulties: A few modern philosophers... assert that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism. With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before!
Who is right?
Today most experts agree that it is not either-or. It is not nature or nurture, genes or environment. From conception on, there is a constant give and take between the two. In fact, as Gilbert Gottlieb, an eminent neuroscientist, put it, not only do genes and environment cooperate as we develop, but genes require input from the environment to work properly. At the same time, scientists are learning that people have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought. Of course, each person has a unique genetic endowment. People may start with different temperaments and different aptitudes, but it is clear that experience, training, and personal effort take them the rest of the way.
Robert Sternberg, the present-day guru of intelligence, writes that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise "is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement." Or, as his forerunner Binet recognized, it is not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR YOU? THE TWO MINDSETS
It is one thing to have pundits spouting their opinions about scientific issues. It's another thing to understand how these views apply to you. For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?
Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you'd better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply would not do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics. Some of us are trained in this mindset from an early age. Even as a child, I was focused on being smart, but the fixed mindset was really stamped in by Mrs. Wilson, my sixth-grade teacher. Unlike Alfred Binet, she believed that people's IQ scores told the whole story of who they were. We were seated around the room in IQ order, and only the highest-IQ students could be trusted to carry the flag, clap the erasers, or take a note to the principal. Aside from the daily stomachaches she provoked with her judgmental stance, she was creating a mindset in which everyone in the class had one consuming goal — look smart, don't look dumb.
Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class? I have seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves — in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? But doesn't our society value intelligence, personality, and character? Isn't it normal to want these traits? Yes, but... There's another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you're dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you're secretly worried it's a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you're dealt is just the starting point for development.
This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.
Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person's true potential is unknown (and unknowable).
It is impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training. The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it is 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.
Did you know that Darwin and Tolstoy were considered ordinary children? That Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated and graceless as a child? That the photographer Cindy Sherman, who has been on virtually every list of the most important artists of the twentieth century, failed her first photography course? That Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent? You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. 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?
A VIEW FROM THE TWO MINDSETS
To give you a better sense of how the two mindsets work, imagine--as vividly as you can--that you are a young adult having a really bad day: One day, you go to a class that is really important to you and that you like a lot. The professor returns the midterm papers to the class. You got a C+. You're very disappointed. That evening on the way back to your home, you find that you've gotten a parking ticket. Being really frustrated, you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off. What would you think? What would you feel? What would you do? When I asked people with the fixed mindset, this is what they said: "I'd feel like a reject." "I'm a total failure." "I'm an idiot." "I'm a loser." "I'd feel worthless and dumb — everyone's better than me." "I'm slime."
In other words, they would see what happened as a direct measure of their competence and worth. This is what they'd think about their lives: "My life is pitiful." "I have no life." "Somebody upstairs doesn't like me." "The world is out to get me." "Someone is out to destroy me." "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me." "Life is unfair and all efforts are useless." "Life stinks. I'm stupid. Nothing good ever happens to me." "I'm the most unlucky person on this earth." Excuse me, was there death and destruction, or just a grade, a ticket, and a bad phone call?
Are these just people with low self-esteem? Or card-carrying pessimists? No. When they are not coping with failure, they feel just as worthy and optimistic --- and bright and attractive --- as people with the growth mindset. So how would they cope? "I wouldn't bother to put so much time and effort into doing well in anything." (In other words, don't let anyone measure you again.) "Do nothing." "Stay in bed." "Get drunk." "Eat." "Yell at someone if I get a chance to." "Eat chocolate." "Listen to music and pout." "Go into my closet and sit there." "Pick a fight with somebody." "Cry." "Break something." "What is there to do?" What is there to do! You know, when I wrote the vignette, I intentionally made the grade a C+, not an F. It was a midterm rather than a final. It was a parking ticket, not a car wreck. They were "sort of brushed off," not rejected outright.
Nothing catastrophic or irreversible happened. Yet from this raw material the fixed mindset created the feeling of utter failure and paralysis. When I gave people with the growth mindset the same vignette, here's what they said. They'd think: "I need to try harder in class, be more careful when parking the car, and wonder if my friend had a bad day." "The C+ would tell me that I'd have to work a lot harder in the class, but I have the rest of the semester to pull up my grade." There were many, many more like this, but I think you get the idea.
Now, how would they cope? Directly. "I'd start thinking about studying harder (or studying in a different way) for my next test in that class, I'd pay the ticket, and I'd work things out with my best friend the next time we speak." "I'd look at what was wrong on my exam, resolve to do better, pay my parking ticket, and call my friend to tell her I was upset the day before." "Work hard on my next paper, speak to the teacher, be more careful where I park or contest the ticket, and find out what's wrong with my friend."
You do not have to have one mindset or the other to be upset. Who wouldn't be? Things like a poor grade or a rebuff from a friend or loved one — these are not fun events. No one was smacking their lips with relish. Yet those people with the growth mindset were not labeling themselves and throwing up their hands. Even though they felt distressed, they were ready to take the risks, confront the challenges, and keep working at them.
SO, WHAT IS NEW?
Is this such a novel idea? We have lots of sayings that stress the importance of risk and the power of persistence, such as "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" and "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" or "Rome wasn't built in a day." (By the way, I was delighted to learn that the Italians have the same expression.)
What is truly amazing is that people with the "fixed mindset" would not agree. For them, it is "Nothing ventured, nothing lost." "If at first you don't succeed, you probably don't have the ability." "If Rome wasn't built in a day, maybe it wasn't meant to be." In other words, risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task. In fact, it is astonishing to see the degree to which people with the fixed mindset do not believe in effort.”
Click or Tap to Return to Star List
RETURN TO HUMANIST GALAXY
OF SECULAR SCIENCE STARS
ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY
Infinite Interactive Ideas™