The conceptual framework for a man's search for meaning

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December 16th, 2013 by dimpledbrain

Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset The New Psychology of Success is a very important book.

It provides new explanations to the age old debate of talent vs effort and offers a new framework on how we should view this issue.

Refer to the following and see which ones apply to you*:

a. Our intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.

b. You can’t really change how intelligent you are.

c. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.

d. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.

(1) Super natural abilities

  • To quote Malcolm Gladwell, as a society we value natural effortless accomplishment over achievement through effort.
  • Think back of a time when we admire someone for his/her natural talent vs the effort the person puts in.
  • Think of a time when we feel overwhelmed with a challenging task and believe that we can’t do it.

(2) Fixed mindset vs growth mindset

  • a fixed mindset is judgemental, always ready to label with strong evaluation, i.e. positive labels or negative labels.
  • a growth mindset asks, “How can I learn from this?” and “How can I improve?”
  • a fixed mindset will say, “If I have the ability, I’ll do well; if I don’t, I won’t”. (the implication is I won’t take extra effort to polish up my talent because if I do, that shows I don’t have the natural ability!).

(3) Key takeaways

  • traits are not a fixed thing and our brain is a muscle that can get stronger if we exercise it.
  • it’s possible to have a fixed mindset in one area and a growth mindset in another area.
  • adopting a growth mindset requires ongoing effort and it’s not a one off surgical effort.

Everything takes effort. As I said in the last post, I don’t know which is greater but this much I can tell; talent plus hard work will always trump talent alone. And if you have to choose between talent and effort, chose the latter. Talent may get you up there but effort keeps you there (for long).


*(1) #1 & #2 refer to fixed mindset while #3&#4 refer to growth mindset.

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