Friday, June 6, 2014

Mind Matters!

Tune your mind to Succeed   

I was recently reading a book – Mindset – The New Psychology of Success written by Carol Dweck, a renowned Psychologist, Stanford University.  I found it very interesting, as I could relate very well with what she has written and am making an attempt to share the summary of it, here.
Growth mindset…

Why brains and talent don’t bring success
How they can stand in the way of it
Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity
What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.


The current generation grew up playing sports where scores and performance were downplayed because “everyone’s a winner.” And their report cards had more positives and / or, Stars. As a result, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, PhD, calls them the “overpraised generation.” 

How to take Failure?

If you ask me, I would say there is nothing called Failure. I consider it as a “Feedback”.  After all, failure is ok, that is the best way to learn a good lesson, be grounded and succeed. 

A fixed mind-set is grounded in the belief that talent is genetic–you’re a born artist or numbers person, math genius, The fixed mind-set believes it’s entitled to success without much effort and regards failure as a personal affront. When things get tough, it’s quick to blame, withdraw, lie, and even avoid future challenge or risk.

Conversely, a growth mind-set assumes that no talent is entirely heaven-sent and that effort and learning make everything possible. Because the ego is not on the line as much, the growth mind-set sees failure as opportunity rather than insult. When challenged, it is quick to reassess, adjust, and try again. 

We are all born with growth mind-sets. (Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to survive in the world.) But parents, coaches, and teachers often push us into fixed mind-sets by rewarding certain behaviors and misdirecting praise.  We should not get derailed by the word “Failure” there are many little things we can start doing today to guarantee that our kids, grandkids, and even we never get derailed by failure.

FOR KIDS In school 

When complimenting, never compliment a child by saying “You’re so smart” or “You picked that up so quickly.” Instead, praise the effort or strategy by saying “That was clever of you to take that approach” or “I’m proud of your persistence.” 

In sports 

If you find a great talent in an individual, instead of saying “You are natural or gifted” you can consider saying “Practice is really making you better.” Instead of inquiring “Did you win?” ask “Did you give your best effort?” Explains Dweck, “Talent isn’t passed down in the genes; it’s passed down in the mind-set.”

In making plans for the future 

Don’t just ask about Dreams / Goals; ask about the plan or strategies for reaching those goals.

When in frustration 

Don’t permit children to refer to themselves as losers, failures, stupid, or clumsy. “Never let failure progress from an action to an identity,” says Dweck. Likewise, don’t label your kids. Don’t say this one is the artist, and this one is the computer geek. Anyone can be anything.

When in doubt

If you encounter skepticism, ask the child to think of areas in which she once had low ability and now excels, or to recall a time when she saw someone learn something or improve in ways not thought possible.

FOR YOU At work 

Instead of letting salary, benefits, and status define job satisfaction, ask yourself if you’re still learning. If the answer is yes, then you’re fortunate to have a job that encourages a growth mind-set. View its challenges as opportunities rather than stress. If you’ve stopped learning, then consider looking either for new avenues of growth or for another job.

Varada Murthy K.S.
Founder - PFLA