I’ve mentioned Stanford Professor Carol Dweck before here on Mission to Learn. I think her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is a must-read for every serious lifelong learner. Last week, Dweck was interviewed for an HBR Ideacast episode, and I was struck by a segment early in the interview when Dweck highlights a trap I think we can all fall into if we aren’t careful.
In case you are not familiar with Mindset, the core point of the book is that consistently successful people embrace a growth mindset – a belief that they can always learn, grow, and become better at whatever they set their sites on. This is in contrast to the fixed mindset that holds back so many people – a belief that whatever talents or abilities you have are basically innate and not changeable to any significant degree.
As I wrote in an earlier post, I find that it is possible to have a growth mindset in some, even most aspects of life, and yet allow a fixed mindset to insinuate itself into others. In the HBR podcast, interviewer Sarah Green raises the possibility – which Dweck affirms – that we might also slip into a fixed mindset even in areas of our life where a growth mindset has traditionally held sway.
As Dweck puts it (at around minute 3:16), we may achieve great success only to feel that “Now I have to have all the answers. Now my period of growth is over. I have to be a fully mature person who knows everything. So, yes, at any point you can fall into that trap.”
So, be aware of the trap. Embrace the growth mindset – and don’t let it slip away.