First confession: I did not read Mindset by Carol Dweck, PH. D. until last week. Yes, I know it came out over nine years ago. I can’t give you a reason why it has not been on my list until now. I am glad I read it, but I came to an awful realization which leads me my second confession.
Second Confession: As I read the book, I came to realize I do not have a growth mindset, yet. This isn’t to say that I didn’t praise students and my children for effort and work ethic. I’ve always believed that intelligence is flexible. I like to believe that I help nurture the growth mindset in others.
As I was reading the book as they described the fixed mindset person. I felt like Carol knew me personally. (Yes, I know I should call her Dr. Dweck, but it’s like she was reading my grade school diary.) I was that student who everything came easy. My identity was the smart one. High school was a rude awakening. I went to a school where everyone was the smart one at their old school. I coped by not trying and procrastinating. My B average was good, but I always said I could have done better if I tried. This attitude continued through college.
I did figure out that hard work should pay off so I work hard. Unfortunately it took me a while to figure out what happens when it doesn’t pay off. It rocks my world. I can describe the time I worked out hard, ate right and the scale did not budge. Ben and Jerry’s became a close friend for a portion of time. I have many other examples of this sort of behavior. I’d like to think I am getting better at when things don’t work out. I use my analytical skills and create a plan B or C.
Here’s my last step to changing my mindset is my conversation with myself. I judge myself. I blame myself for setbacks. My self talk is appalling. I would not tolerate anyone to talk to me the way I talk to myself. I can guarantee that some of the things I judge myself on, no one even notices. I make assumptions that everyone else is noticing that the copy is not perfectly straight or I gained a little weight.
So yes…I may not have completely shifted my mindset YET, but it is coming. I will be brave and begin to not judge myself so harshly. The reasons to embrace this mindset is many. I ask teachers every day to open their classrooms to other teachers to grow and learn. I want student to see that the outcome is not fixed, but they have the opportunity to grow everyday. I want my children to not be afraid of mistakes. In order to accomplish any of these things. I need to change my mindset.