Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Evaluate YOUR "Mindset" . . . .

Hello friends,

Well, after a little over two months filled with loss and grief (my best friend's mother, Kathy, lost her battle with cancer on Oct. 17; and my maternal grandmother,Noni, passed away from supposed colon cancer and a perforated colon on November 17), I woke up this morning, dusted myself off and said "ENOUGH!". I have allowed these events (and a smattering of others in between) cause me to become complacent, tired, and unmotivated. I look yucky and I FEEL even worse! This is NOT the optimistic, energetic, motivational self that I work so hard to cultivate . . . . .the time has come for a jump-start (a.k.a. the self-inflicted kick-in-the-butt). :-)

A very dear friend and mentor of mine recommended a book to me called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. As with any book he recommends, I quickly snatched it up to devour it . . . .I have this insatiable hunger for new knowledge, (especially if it can help me to be even a fraction as smart and successful as my friend is.) However, as my life hit one of those "snags" with all of this sickness, sadness and death, it's been sitting on the overflowing bookshelf next to my bed, with only the first chapter read. So this morning, I dragged my sagging derriere and my shamefully dusty book to the recumbent bike in the office and REREAD chapter one.

Dweck, who has spent her entire career researching achievement and success, has written this entire book on the power of our mindset in determining our own achievement and successes. Just her first chapter confirms everything I have come to believe in the last four years of my life (and has been laying dormant for 2 months) and taught me more about how powerful our minds truly are. She talks about the two types of mindsets: the fixed mindset (the belief that your basic qualities are set in stone) and the growth mindset (the belief that your basic qualities are things that can be cultivated through effort).

Excerpt :

" . . . .belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it's not going so well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. "
-Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck, 2008

I will not rewrite her whole book for you, I haven't even finished it myself; however, the purpose of this blog is to connect with others, learn from others, and share with others. I think we all owe it to ourselves to cultivate our remarkable potential for success and happiness. Her writing is casual and easy to understand (I always tease my psychologist friends about how their language makes me feel like I'm on Mars). I hope you'll pick up a copy of this book, and after you've read it, tell me what you think.