One of my personal challenges this year is to read at least 26 books before the year is out. The first one I read was Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential by Carol Dweck which was a recommendation Bill Gates included in his 6 best books of 2015.
One of the reasons I wanted to read this book is to understand the ways in which I can develop my own mindset to become more comfortable outside of my areas of expertise and recognise when I am behaving in a fixed mindset way. It’s clear I can never learn to swing a golf club like Tiger Woods, drive a car like Lewis Hamilton or ride a bike like Sir Bradley Wiggins, but what Dweck claims is that anyone can improve their abilities in any area if they approach it with a growth mindset.
I loved mindset as it made me understand that our gifts are the things that mean we have the ability to see and do things in a way that appears natural to us. It doesn’t mean that others can’t learn to achieve success in these areas with practice and a growth mindset. Sometimes we just need a great teacher, the right material or a way of deconstructing problems in a different way and with a growth mindset to improve along with practice.
The main reason I wanted to read this book was to understand the kinds of things I can do as a father to my children to reinforce a growth mindset as they develop their skills and abilities throughout their lives. There is real practical advice within to help do just that by articulating problems and challenges in the right way to our little ones that helps them understand the journey of how we learn is just as important as the destination of what we learn. (I also recommend the superb Tara Binns children’s books)
Rewards and reprimands, Dweck claims, reinforces the fixed mindset, making our children want the feeling of pleasing others with their achievements and not personal satisfaction realised through effort and growth. Dweck asserts, failure is not a sign of stupidity, incompetence, lack of skill or ability, it is a lack of practice to develop skill and Dweck gives many examples through the book to validate her points with the growth mindset.
The thing I really liked about this book was the example situations and solutions where a parent, husband, colleague, leader, student, athlete etc have been A/B tested to support the claims. It has already influenced my behaviour around my family and children and how I approach problems at work.
I would recommend this book to anyone who resonates with the summary. I do believe their are some things we can never fully absolve a fixed mindset from; you have to want to have a growth mindset in a particular area to start with, otherwise the hard work attributed to success is not going to be an enjoyable process.
Personal Rating: 7/10