Mindsets: Carol Dweck Interview

Noteworthy sociologist Benjamin Barber once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners.”

Dr. Carol Dweck defines learners and nonlearners and reveals why learners are more apt to achieve more, take on greater challenges, and persist, in her latest book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  In this hour long interview, Carol debunks the myths about ability and achievement, revealing that the single greatest factor in determining a person’s success is their mindset.

Not sure what type of mindset you have?  Take this online quiz to discover your perspective on your own strengths and abilities.  Then, listen to Carol’s interview for expert advice on how to abandon fixed ways of thinking and adopt a growth mindset, full of limitless potential.

Read an excerpt from Carol’s interview below:

Robert:  Let’s say someone listening says, “You know what?  I’ve got a fixed mindset.  Big deal.”  How is that affecting them, and why would it be better for their success and happiness to have a growth mindset?

Carol:  With a fixed mindset, you’re so worried about how smart or talented you are, you don’t take on challenges.  You don’t try new things.  The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things.  When there’s a setback, someone with a fixed mindset will start thinking, “Maybe I don’t have what it takes?”  They may get defensive and give up.  A hallmark of a successful person is that they persist in the face of obstacle and often these obstacles are blessings in disguise.

Maybe you don’t know how to do something at work.  Instead of asking the boss or seeking someone as a mentor, you might not want to show them your ignorance.  So, you’re depriving yourself of this learning and mentorship.  All of these ways are ways that a fixed mindset will hold you back.  In a growth mindset, in the same situation you’re trying to stretch, you’re getting feedback from all kinds of people, you’re learning from your mistakes and moving forward in a better way.

Robert:  And so, it sounds like with a growth mindset, you are willing to take more risk because you’re not so concerned about failing.

Carol: Failure isn’t going to measure you.  It’s not pleasant (we all like to succeed!), but it doesn’t measure you.  And in the end, it teaches you something that makes you more likely to succeed in the future.  I’ve talked to a lot of incredibly successful business people who say, “If I hadn’t had my first two or three failures, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Robert:  Well, one of the great quotes from your book is that “Exceptional people convert life’s setbacks into future successes,” and that clearly is a growth oriented person.

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