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My takeaway

There are two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. In the fixed mindset everything is about the outcome, while the growth mindset allows for valuing what you are doing regardless of the outcome. Remember that the mind is malleable—you always have a choice which mindset to adopt.


My notes

These are my informal notes from Mindset. It contains a mix of key highlights as well as my own thoughts and lessons.

  • Not only do genes and environment cooperate as we develop, but genes require input from the environment to work properly.
  • We realized that there were two meanings to ability, not one: a fixed ability that needs to be proven, and a changeable ability that can be developed through learning.
  • When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.
  • Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.
  • People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower.
  • The idea that one evaluation can measure you forever is what creates the urgency for those with the fixed mindset. That’s why they must succeed perfectly and immediately.
  • In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.
  • Many people with the fixed mindset think that someone’s early performance tells you all you need to know about their talent and their future.
  • A growth mindset helps people to see prejudice for what it is—someone else’s view of them—and to confront it with their confidence and abilities intact.
  • “There is something about seeing myself improve that motivates and excites me.”
  • Those with the growth mindset found setbacks motivating. They’re informative. They’re a wake-up call.
  • If the wrong kinds of praise lead kids down the path of entitlement, dependence, and fragility, maybe the right kinds of praise can lead them down the path of hard work and greater hardiness.
  • One problem is that people with the fixed mindset expect everything good to happen automatically.
  • Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems. There are no problem-free candidates. The trick is to acknowledge each other’s limitations, and build from there.
  • Praising children’s intelligence harms their motivation and it harms their performance. Does this mean we can’t praise our children enthusiastically when they do something great? Should we try to restrain our admiration for their successes? Not at all. It just means that we should keep away from a certain kind of praise—praise that judges their intelligence or talent. We can appreciate them as much as we want for the growth-oriented process—what they accomplished through practice, study, persistence, and good strategies.
  • Next time you’re in a position to discipline, ask yourself, What is the message I’m sending here: I will judge and punish you? Or I will help you think and learn?
  • A growth mindset is about believing people can develop their abilities. It’s that simple. It can have many repercussions, but that’s what it is at its core.