Pearls of wisdom from Carol Dweck.
Carol Dweck is America’s most influential researcher on motivation and mindset. She coined the term growth mindset — something all lifelong learners have in common.
She is a Psychology professor at Standford and also taught at Columbia and Harvard. Yet, you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand her work. She uses relatable language and basic logic to change the way we learn.
Dweck’s book shattered my wrong learning beliefs and changed my life for the better. People aren’t born smart. They become smart as a result of learning.
These quotes transform your life for the better by inviting more challenges and growth. Here are four curated mindset quotes that will open your heart and mind to the concept of a growth mindset and, in doing so, change the way you learn.
“When you make your best effort, you may be outscored, but you will never lose.”
Formal education teaches us to focus on the outcome. That’s why most of us judge our performance based on results: a grade, a score, a certificate.
Yet, what is far more important than achieving any result, is whether you made your best effort during the process.
Often, the outcome is influenced by factors you can’t control. You can’t control the end.
Instead, what you can always control is whether you did your best. As long as you focus on the effort, you’ll live your best self. And by giving your best, you’ll never lose — despite the outcome.
Derive your happiness and value from your effort. Focus on the process instead of the result.
How to do it:
Instead of asking whether you won, ask yourself whether you did your best. Have no fear of losing. If you lose but give your best effort, you’ll have nothing to regret.
Let go of controlling the outcome. Instead, focus on what you can control: your intention, your attitude, and your actions.
By doing the work, day in and day out, you’ll become better. And by focusing on one step at a time, you’ll win in life.
“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better?”
Let’s imagine you could choose to play tennis against two different players. If you pick the first player, you’ll win 3:0. If you select the second, you’ll lose 1:3.
Would you choose the game you win or the one where you learn?
Sure bets won’t make you better. Risk-free wins won’t add to your learning curve.
Babies never decide it’s too hard or not worth the effort. They don’t worry about making mistakes. They walk, they fall, they get up, and they learn.
Instead of seeking validation, seek challenges that make you fall. If you pick winning, you’ll inflate your ego. If you choose learning, you’ll learn for life. Only the later will steer you towards the path for success.
How to do it:
Ignore games and tasks. You can win quickly and perfectly. You won’t form new connections in your brain.
You don’t need to prove yourself that you’re perfect at something. Instead, get your shit together and try something new.
Seek learning opportunities. Look for challenges that make you grow. And while you’ll be struggling, remember the best learning happens outside of your comfort zone.
“When you already know you’re deficient, you have nothing to lose by trying.”
I wish I could read this quote to my younger self. As a teenager, I loved our piano. Yet, I never played it. I feared to destroy my illusion of being a perfect player.
Perfectionism hinders learning. The fear of making mistakes prevents you from trying.
When you know you’re not perfect, you’re humble enough to go ahead and try. You don’t fear to destroy your ideal self. Instead, you’re open to making mistakes and learning.
The geniuses, the world-class performers, became world-class because they weren’t afraid to fail. Instead of thinking they already knew it all, they were aware of their deficiency.
How to do it:
Know that you’ll never be perfect. When you know, there’s still so much to learn you don’t fear to try.
Once you accept that you’re deficient, you’ll get out of your way. You’ll start practicing and getting better.
“Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.”
True intelligence means changing your opinion based on new insights. It’s staying open to new learning.
This is easier said than done. We grow up with a set of beliefs and values and surround ourselves with people who share our opinion.
The deeper we are on our island of knowledge, the more difficult it is to change your opinion when you’re faced with new ideas.
Yet, by having the courage to be open, we invite learning opportunities. Ultimately, this open-mindedness will accelerate our learning.
How to do it:
Beware of the four horsemen of a fixed mindset. Every time you find yourself in some of these thought patterns remind yourself to be open:
– I know it all.
– You’re wrong, I rule.
– Oh, I’ve heard of this concept before.
– Nothing new for me.
The effort to think openly and embrace new ideas will be worth it when you’re able to take part in the benefits that come from opening your mind.
Most of the time, we make learning harder than it needs to be. Small shifts in our mindset can lead to happiness and fulfillment.
And while each of these mindset shifts can change the way you learn, you certainly don’t need to integrate all of them.
At the end of the day, your lifelong learning journey is defined by you.
Use these ideas as a source of inspiration and brainstorm what might help you to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled life.
And always keep Dweck’s words in mind who said
“When Do You Feel Smart: When You’re Flawless or When You’re Learning?”
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