Mindset and the “Art of Learning”

In yesterday’s post, I introduced the concept of having a growth mindset, as described by Carol Dweck (Your Mindset Is Important). Building on that, I would like to share a TEDx YouTube video that features mindset as a topic. Interestingly, the speaker, Eduardo Briceno, Co-Founder and CEO of Mindset Works (www.mindsetworks.com) uses Josh Waitzkin as an example of someone who has a growth mindset. If you remember the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, Josh Waitzkin (played by Max Pomeranc) was the main character depicted in the movie. Do not let the movie fool you — Josh Waitzkin is not only a Chess Champion, for he went on to become a World Champion in Tai Chi Chuan — mainly because of his growth mindset. I actually read Josh Waitzkin’s book a few years ago: The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence and I hope to read it again soon. Paraphrasing the book description, he essentially explains that achievement is a function of a lifestyle; lifestyle fuels a creative and resilient growth process. Such interesting stuff! Enjoy the video!

Your Mindset is Important

Welcome to the first official post for OptimizeBooks.com! Each blog post will focus on a particular area of achievement. Today’s focus is the importance of your mindset.

The word “mindset” has been bandied about a lot recently, but many people do not realize the short and long-term impacts of one’s mindset in life. Perhaps one of the best experts on the topic is Carol Dweck, Ph.D., the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on things like why people succeed and how to foster success — ideas that she described in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dr. Dweck’s website, mindsetonline.com, offers the highlights of what she has studied; it explains the importance of one’s mindset. In particular, Dr. Dweck explains that there is a difference between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. A fixed mindset essentially means that you believe that everything is a given — that success is dependent on traits and qualities you either have or don’t have. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe they can develop and mold their abilities and talents, especially through effort and dedication [What is Mindset].

Though there is not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” type of mindset, we can leverage Dweck’s research for our own benefit. For instance, instead of having a fixed mindset, where we may try to prove ourselves over and over (because we think we have a finite amount of certain success traits), it might be more prudent to spend that energy and time on developing ourselves in a particular area, especially to work on our goals. Logically, we can optimize and maximize our chances for success if we focus our energy on personal development.

In Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams, the ideas of optimizing yourself – particularly spending energy and time on what you can do, on how to achieve your goals, is a major premise of the book; in fact, it depends on your mindset. Given Dweck’s research, we can then realize how critical it is to develop a growth mindset and maintain the spirit of “optimizing” ourselves!