Do You Have a Growth Or a Fixed Mindset?

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth is a fascinating book. She explores a lot of topics to improve your success in life. Below is an excerpt from the book:

Growth vs Fixed MindsetGrit.jpg

Here are four statements Carol (Dweck) uses to assess a person’s theory of intelligence. Read them now and consider how much you agree or disagree with each:

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

You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.

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

You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.

If you found yourself nodding affirmatively to the first two statements but shaking your head in disagreement with the last two, then Carol would say you have more of a fixed mindset. If you had the opposite reaction, then Carol would say you tend toward a growth mindset.

I like to think of a growth mindset this way: Some of us believe, deep down, that people really can change. These growth-oriented people assume that it’s possible, for example, to get smarter if you’re given the right opportunities and support and if you try hard enough and if you believe you can do it. Conversely, some people think you can learn skills, like how to ride a bike or do a sales pitch, but your capacity to learn skills — your talent — can’t be trained. The problem with holding the latter fixed-mindset view — and many people who consider themselves talented do — is that no road is without bumps. Eventually, you’re going to hit one. At that point, having a fixed mindset becomes a tremendous liability. This is when a C-, a rejection letter, a disappointing progress review at work, or any other setback can derail you. With a fixed mindset, you’re likely to interpret these setbacks as evidence that, after all, you don’t have “the right stuff” – you’re not good enough. With a growth mindset, you believe you can learn to do better.

Mindsets have been shown to make a difference in all the same life domains as optimism. For instance, if you have a growth mindset, you’re more likely to do well in school, enjoy better emotional and physical health, and have stronger, more positive social relationships with other people.

A few years ago, Carol and I asked more than two thousand high school seniors to complete a growth-mindset questionnaire. We’ve found that students with a growth mindset are significantly grittier than students with a fixed mindset. What’s more, grittier students earn higher report card grades and, after graduation, are more likely to enroll in and persist through college. I’ve since measured growth mindset and grit in both younger children and older adults, and in every sample, I’ve found that growth mindset and grit go together.

Two Yardsticks for Measuring Risky Decisions

How Women Decide: What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices by Therese Huston is a fascinating book. How do you make decisions? Do you know the risk in making your decision? Below is an excerpt from the book:

Two Yardsticks for Measuring Risky DecisionsHow women decide.jpg

Are there strategies for figuring out when to take a risk? I was torn on whether to include this advice because I don’t want to send the message that women are, underneath it all, fearful of risk. The data doesn’t support that. But whether you’re a man or a woman, someone who takes too many risks or too few, you need strategies for evaluating new opportunities. There are any number of risky decisions you might be considering. Maybe you’re thinking about taking a new job or quitting your current one. Maybe you’re trying to decide whether to invest your time in a project that your friends think is a dead end but that you believe is just beginning. I’m going to offer two tools, two yardsticks you can use to measure a daring move and whether it’s headed in the right direction.

The first tool is the 10-10-10 rule, developed by the journalist and author Suzy Welch. The purpose of this strategy is to help you look at a decision from three angles, with the hope that one of those vantage points will provide a pop of clarity. In her book 10-10-10, Welch offers three easy-to-remember questions: “What are the consequences of this decision in 10 minutes? In 10 months? In 10 years?” Simple, yes, but potentially quite powerful. The goal isn’t to constrain you to those exact numbers – you could think about two days, six months, and seven years from now. The goal is for you to think about the immediate consequences, the impact your decision will have in the foreseeable and imaginable future and in a distant part of your life, a time far enough in the future that you can’t predict the intervening details or events but you still have clear hopes for yourself. Imagining forty years out is probably too far. The idea is that all too often when we’re trying to make a decision, we’re focused on one, maybe two of these time frames, but wisdom might lie in considering all three.

The second tool for sizing up a risk is something called a premortem, a strategy discussed in the bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton University professor and Nobel Prize- winning economist who has been studying reasoning and decision- making for over forty-five years. You may be familiar with a postmortem, which is what you do when a project or event is over, but a premortem is just what its name suggests – a step you take before the project launches, before you’ve committed to a plan of action and the risks that come with it. The concept is simple. Once you have a concrete plan on the table, bring together the key people who know about the decision you’re making and say, “Imagine that it’s a year into the future and we’ve gone ahead with our current plan. The result was a disaster. Take five to ten minutes and write down a brief play-by-play of that disaster

You might not be immediately impressed with this strategy. You’re thinking, But I’ve already asked “What could go wrong?” a dozen times. But that question involves looking forward, to possible events in the future, whereas the premortem involves looking back. (A premortem is similar to the look-back we discussed in chapter 1.) Looking back may not seem like much of a shift, especially since it’s all in your imagination, but this small shift in perspective can be profound.

Consider these two questions: “How likely is it that an Asian American will be elected president of the United States in 2024? Why might this happen? List all the reasons that come to mind:’

Before you read on, take a moment to think about this future possibility and generate some ideas.

That was looking forward. Now consider these two questions: “It’s 2024 and an Asian American has just been elected president of the United States. Why did this happen? What events might have preceded this one? List everything that comes to mind.”

If you’re like most people who’ve been asked these questions, a wider variety of vivid details come to mind in the second, hindsight scenario. It’s not just that you’re getting a second chance to think about the same event – people generate better answers to the hindsight questions even if they never heard the first ones. Deborah Mitchell at the University of Pennsylvania, J. Edward Russo at Cornell University, and Nancy Pennington at the University of Colorado collaborated on a project and found that people who are given the second, hindsight scenario generate 25 percent more reasons than people given the first, foresight scenario.” Perhaps even more important, people generated more specific and concrete reasons in the hindsight scenario. When we think about future events, we’re content to think in broad generalities, but when we think about something that has already happened, we feel a need to provide more convincing explanations. This is why the premortem is so effective- it’s looking back at a fictional event as though it’s happened. You’ve always heard that hindsight is better than foresight, and that, remarkably, includes imaginary hindsight.

 

Book Review: What If?

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe is an excellent quick read. Below are the three questions I enjoyed the most:What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Longest Sunset

What is the longest possible sunset you can experience while driving, assuming we are obeying the speed limit and driving on paved roads?

—Michael Berg

Go to Answer:

Phone Keypad

I use one of those old phones where you type with numbers—for example, to type “Y”, you press 9 three times. Some words have consecutive letters on the same number. When they do, you have to pause between letters, making those words annoying to type. What English word has the most consecutive letters on the same key?

Stewart Bishop

Go to Answer:

FedEx Bandwidth

When – if ever – will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of FedEx?

—Johan Öbrink

Go to Answer:

 

How to Ask Better Questions

I finally had the chance to read a great book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Dan Pink. This book will be included in my recommended reading list. Below is an excerpt from the book.

Learn how to ask better questionsTo Sell is Human

In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Unfortunately, our schools often have the opposite emphasis. They teach us how to answer, but not how to ask. The folks at the Right Question Institute are trying to correct that imbalance. They’ve come up with a method that educators can use to help students learn to ask better questions-and that can assist even those of us who graduated back in the twentieth century.

Before your next sales call, or maybe in advance of that awkward upcoming meeting with your ex-spouse or annoying boss, give RQI’s step-by-step Question Formulation Technique a try.

1. Produce your questions.

Generate a list of questions by writing down as many as you can think of, without stopping to judge, discuss, or answer any of them. Don’t edit. Just write the questions that pop into your head. Change any statements to questions.

2. Improve your questions.

Go through your list of questions and categorize each one as either “closed-ended” (questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no,” 0r just one word) or “open-ended” (questions that require an explanation and cannot be answered with “yes” or “no,” or just one word). Then, looking over the two types of questions, think about the advantages and disadvantages of each variety. Finally, for a few closed-ended questions, create an open-ended one, and for a few open-ended questions, create a closed-ended one.

3. Prioritize your questions.

Choose your three most important questions. Think about why you chose them. Then edit them one more time so they are ultra-clear.

Through this process you can identify a trio of powerful questions that you can ask the person on the other side of the table. And those questions can help both of you clarify where you are and where you should be going. Find more information on this at: http://www.rightquestion.org

Poll Results

Here is the results from my poll question: Of the last five recessions, Which one do you think is the worst?

2007-Present    23

1973-1975           4

1980-1982          3

1990-1991           1

2001-2003         0

 

The Results of my Poll Question
The Results of my Poll Question