Wednesday, May 1, 2013


 from March 2008

I checked a book out of the library on Thursday that has me intrigued. It's called Mindset. In its 239 pages, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. presents two mindsets out of which people operate, and many examples from her research to illustrate these two mindsets. The fixed mindset and the growth mindset are very different and can, Dweck claims, make a huge difference in how we approach life.

Where do you primarily see your own mindset?

Fixed Mindset Traits:

*Abilities need to be proven
*Failure = setback = not smart or talented
*Belief that intelligence is fixed/can't be changed
*Fear of deficiencies being exposed
*Enjoyment of things safely within their grasp
*Loss of enjoyment if something is too challenging
*Expectation that an ability shows up on its own (i.e. it's natural) before any learning takes place
*Belief that one test/evaluation can measure them forever
*Prefer success over growth--desiring to prove they are special or superior
*Failure is not an action; it's an identity

Growth Mindset Traits:

*Love a challenge
*Abilities developed through learning
*Failure = not fulfilling potential
*Belief that they can change/develop their intelligence
*Thrive when they are stretched
*A test/evaluation can't project the future
*Belief that it takes time for potential to flower
*Failure is an action, not an identity
*Value the process regardless of the outcome

Throughout the vast majority of my life, I have definitely had a fixed mindset. As a youth, I was known as a perfectionist. Anything less than an "A" meant failure. I didn't take risks because I was afraid of failing. If anyone said I was good at anything, I could easily be puffed up and at the same time fear that I would be exposed as a phony. I wanted to be the best.

I talk about this as though it's past tense, but much of it lingers to this day. I thank the Lord, though, that He is truly changing me. He has yoked me with a growth-minded husband and surrounded me with growth-minded friends. Best of all, He is a growth-minded God who is committed to sanctifying His children that we may become more like Him and increasingly glorify Him.

Yes, this book is secular, but it's interesting to compare the two lists. (Context from the book is helpful, I'm sure.) One is the path of humility, one of pride. One needs the help of the Holy Spirit, one doesn't. One can be Christ-centered if the one is a believer. The other is me-centered.

I would enjoy discussing this book with a friend (or two or three), especially to ensure I am thinking biblically but also to help me (and hopefully you) continue to grow and to pass this gift to my (your) children. Any takers?

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