Condense The Learning Curve (BOOK SUMMARY) – Mindset by Carol Dweck

Mindset by. Dr. Carol Dweck

Before we go any further and before you look at the diagram below you should know these two terms from the book in there simplest form:

Growth Mindset Belief that people can grow, change, and advance with effort, dedication and experience.

Fixed-Mindset“That’s just the way I am.”  This is the battle cry of the fixed-mindset.  This mindset is based on the idea that what we are and are capable of are out of our control.



So why is an emphasis on our mindset so important?  I believe it is best summed up by Dr. Dweck when she said:

“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” – Carol Dweck

The belief systems and mindset we possess about what we are capable of greatly impacts our potential for success in our chosen life endeavors.  Even further and potentially more damaging – our belief systems are also passed onto those who we carry the most influence with (kids, teams, spouses, etc).

Hanging onto a fixed-mindset limits our levels of self-awareness, our creativity, it can elicit poor self-esteem, our ability to bounce back from set backs, among other things.

While it’s likely that in different areas of life you exist somewhere in the middle of the fixed and growthmindset, Dweck throughout the book simply refers to more of an either/or scenario but I am certain upon being asked she would agree that a balance of the two mindsets exist.

Why is this important to YOU?

The fixed-mindset usually creates a “need” to again and again prove ourselves to others.  Individuals with a fixed-mindset typically do not take well to any form of criticism and usually will regard any type of feedback as an attack.  This process further delays growth and development and in turn inhibits results.

The growth-mindset permits perseverance.  The growth-mindset lends to the notion that we can grow and change for the better, we can learn that which we do not know at this time.  The growth-mindset allows us to embrace criticism and feedback  and then pursue the knowledge, skills, and training that we need to produce the result we are after.

Mindset = The View We Adopt for Ourselves

Moving From the Fixed-Mindset to a Growth-Mindset

There are many legs of reference to confirm that we are capable of moving from a fixed-mindset to a growth-mindset.  Dr. Dweck outlines examples throughout the book and below you will find suggestions to help transistion from the fixed-mindset to the growth-mindset.

  1. Learn to hear your fixed-mindset-  Your fixed-mindset usually sounds something like “I knew that I didn’t have the ability to do that.”  Some of the most common fixed-mindset phrases I hear are “That’s just the way things are” and “There’s nothing I can do about it.”  When receiving feedback about a performance what is your natural reaction?  Is it to become defensive and defend yourself?  If so this is likely the fixed-mindset at work.
  2. Realize that a choice is ALWAYS present– The fixed-mindset accepts challenges and setbacks and then simply adjusts our expectations for the future to meet this new accepted reality.  The growth-mindset views challenges and setbacks as an experience to further equip ourselves with additional strategies, tools, and education.
  3. Combat the Fixed-Mindset with the Growth-Mindset
    • The fixed-mindset says “I can’t do that.  I don’t have the talent.”
    • The growth-mindset says “What do I need to learn to be able to do this effectively?”
  4. Act from the Growth-Mindset- With practice and continuous dedication to recognizing your mindset the choice of which one you act from becomes yours.  Practice being curious about what you are capable of and what you need to learn and do to produce the result you want.  Accept feedback in an effort to grow and develop and then improve performance.

Don’t act tomorrow in the same way that you did today only because “that’s just the way I am.”

In closing, we can grow and we can change!

This is a book that I would certainly recommend you own.  This short summary did not take into account the dedicated sections on cultivating the growth-mindset specifically in your children and in your work environment.

The book can be purchased directly from AMAZON for less than $10.


-Sean Z. Callahan



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