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Mindset—By Carol S. Dweck

My notes

This book was incredibly practical. The simplicity of framing the conversation in terms of a binary is particularly helpful for an individual challenging themselves. I worry that the arguments could be reductionistic… in the same way that Myers-Briggs can reduce individual attributes in a binary. But with that precaution in mind, I find the idea of fixed-mindset vs growth-mindset helpful on a personal level.

The fixed mindset thinks that intelligence is fixed. This means all interactions are framed in such a way, that the pre-existing attributes must be confirmed and defended. Failure is fatal, because it means “I’m no longer a winner, I’m now a loser”.

The growth mindset thinks intelligence is a skill. Like a muscle, it can be stretched, broken down, and built up over time (or even atrophy). With a growth mindset, challenges are opportunities to grow. Failure is okay, because it means I need to buckle down, put in more practice, learn from those who didn’t fail, etc.

The intersection of faith that I am wrestling with, is how to deal with the side-effects of sin. An act of sin can be described as momentary moral failure. But that moral failure can have lasting impact on victims. Though it’s not the author’s concern, there seems to be little thought for how to do the heavy work of reconciling these serious moral failures that devestate the lives of others. While the goal of the growth mindset is to forgive and move on… it can almost seem to trivialize past hurts in other people.

Maybe that provides an opportunity of radical grace. Not holding onto hurts caused by others’ failures. Being problematically forgiving to the point that it unsettles people.

I find that thoughts of YNAB and finances are coming in… you cannot change how you spent money in the past. You cannot change how you’ve wronged people (or been wronged by people), so there is truly no use in latching onto it. Learn from it. Grow. Get onto the next thing.

The elevator pitch summary: judge and be judged versus learn and help learn. 


Carol S. Dweck