Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Discusses the importance of having a growth mindset. You can be better. Your abilities aren't fixed.

5 min read

The Mindsets

You don't necessarily start in the same place as anyone else. But it is not some pre-determined ability that lets you achieve expertise, it's purposeful engagement.

It's not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.

When you have a fixed mindset you are also set on proving yourself. "If you have a fixed amount of something, you'd better show that you have a lot."

We often see books with titles like The Ten Secrets of the World's Most Successful People crowding the shelves of bookstores, and these books may give many useful tips. But they're usually a list of unconnected pointers , like "Take more risks!" or "Believe in yourself!" While you're left admiring people who can do that, it's never clear how these things fit together or how you could ever become that way. So you're inspired for a few days , but basically the world's most successful people still have their secrets.

Inside the Mindsets

Failure is about growing.

Some people only want feedback that is about proving their ability (wrong/right or grades). Don't be like that. Desire information that can help you improve.

Always add "yet" when thinking you can't do something. Just because it looks hard doesn't mean that you can't learn it in time.

"Becoming is better than being".

"You aren't a failure until you start to blame" — John Wooden

People with a growth mindset react to hard times (depression) with even more determination.

As a society we seem to value natural, effortless achievement over achievement based on effort. That we should be perfect without even trying. But people with a growth mindset beg to differ. Having a better starting point than others (being better without previous experience) is cool, but getting good via effort is even cooler.

In the growth mindset, it's almost inconceivable to want something badly, to think you have a chance to achieve it, and then do nothing about it.

Billie Jean King says it's all about what you want to look back and say. You can look back and say, "I could have been...", polishing your unused endowments like trophies. Or you can look back and say, "I gave my all for the things I valued". Think about what you want to look back and say. Then choose your mindset.

The growth mindset is a starting point for change, but people need to decide for themselves where their efforts toward change would be most valuable.

The Truth About Ability And Accomplishment

What (eventually) set Thomas Edison apart from the rest was his mindset and drive. He wasn't always the genius that he became.

A note from myself: You usually never see the dedication and hard work that it has taken to produce the result, only the result itself. So then it seems as if these 'geniuses' come out of nowhere, making them seem as if they had it in them from the start. You weren't there in the early mornings when they started working, nor the late nights.

You may sometimes feel overwhelmed. Don't let this lead you to give up and blame others. Instead, grow from the adversity. Learn.

Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn't mean that others can't do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training.

Praise for effort, not for talent.

Sports: The Mindset of a Champion

It is the discipline to work hard (and actually doing the hard work) that is the best predictor of success in sports (and anywhere else, really). Ali is a great example. He wasn't supposed to beat Liston, because Liston was a natural - and Ali was not. But he beat him nevertheless.

Michael Jordan as well. He was probably the hardest working player of all time. He wasn't even close to being a 'natural', but he worked his way to becoming the GOAT.

There was a common belief in golf that if you strength trained you'd lose your 'touch'. Then Tiger Woods came and proved that wrong - very wrong.

Hard work is the way to get ahead in life.

When you're born a 'natural' (have a better starting point that others), you are more inclined to get a fixed mindset because you're always told that you are special and that you are gifted. Praised for talent rather than effort.

Take charge of the process that brings success - and maintain it.

Take responsibility of your life and what you do. That's how you don't fail.

Business: Mindset and Leadership

Constantly do your best to improve.

Andrew Carnegie once said, "I wish to have as my epitaph: 'Here lies a man who was wise enough to bring into his service men who knew more than he'".

True self-confidence is "the courage to be open — to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source." Real self confidence is not reflected in a title, and expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.

When leading (or managing): Be a guide, not a judge.

Avoid groupthink (when everyone in the group starts thinking alike). This is where your group becomes a kind of echo chamber. Another thing to take care of here is that when leading, if you punish dissent (someone who has an idea that's not the majority-idea), you may prevent others from speaking up - even if they keep their critical thinking going.

It's best to hire managers who believe in growth and have a growth-mindset.

When Warren Bennis interviewed great leaders, "They all agreed leaders are made, not born, and made more by themselves than by any other external means." Bennis concurred: "I believe ... that everyone, of whatever age and circumstance, is capable of self-transformation." Not that everyone will become a leader.

Create an organization that values the development of ability.

Relationships: Mindsets in Love (or not)

People with a fixed mindset often want revenge; even more than their own happiness. People with a growth mindset wants to understand and move on.

Know that you, your partner and the relationship that you have can all grow.

One of the most destructive beliefs to hold about relationships is that "if you have to work at it, it wasn't mean to be".

Another one is that people with the fixed mindset blame the problems on their partner's personality traits - which isn't good because according to them, traits are fixed.

You cannot control the other person (friend/partner/etc), but you can control at least your own actions. Be for them who you want them to be for you.

Stop trying to blame the other person. Try to fix it, together.

Parents, Teachers and Coaches: Where Do Mindsets Come From?

Here I skipped to the coaches part. Was not interested in the parents and teachers part.

Consistent training in the basic skills is (a) key.

A growth mindset is about believing that people can develop their abilities.

There is more than just effort and hard work to the growth mindset. It's a process. You have to constantly learn how to become better - you can't just bruteforce your way with an ineffective method.

Changing Mindsets

If you have to do something difficult, make a concrete plan to do it.

Listen to feedback.

Use every possible strategy that contributes to your success. You can't usually just bruteforce your way through things.

Once a problem improves, people often stop doing what caused it to improve in the first place. Stopping exercise habits when you are in great shape. Stopping diets when you have lost weight etc.

"You either go one way or the other" - you might as well be the one deciding that direction.

Enjoy my book notes? Join the newsletter

I'll send you an email when I release new notes. No spam, ever.