Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Book Review

mindset: the new psychology of success
mindset: the new psychology of success

I think the name of the book pretty much speaks for itself – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. For anybody out there who is aspiring to chase their dreams or achieve any of their goals, this book is going to be very beneficial for you in the sense that it is going to teach you how to reshape your mindset, and why you probably need to reshape your mindset in the first place. 

There are two types of mindsets that we can develop. The first is a fixed mindset. The second is a growth mindset. 

People with a fixed mindset believe talent is everything. Not only that, but they also believe that one is either born with talent, or they are not. If they’re not born with talent and the ability to do something great, they think they’re doomed and going to be a failure for the rest of their lives. Fixed mindset individuals believe that their skills are written in stone. Just like their looks, they will never possess more skills other than the ones they were born with. 

As a result, individuals with a fixed mindset never give themselves the opportunity to succeed. Why would they waste their precious time trying to develop any new skills when they don’t have the ability to develop those new skills in the first place, and will also be deemed as a failure?

On the contrary, people with a growth mindset believe that whatever they want to achieve is attainable. It is out there and it is theirs for the taking. As long as they work hard for their goals, dedicate themselves to their goal and practice as much as they can, individuals with a growth mindset believe that they can achieve any goal, develop any skill, and conquer any obstacle that stands in their way. 

Due to having a growth mindset and a desire to learn from their failures, these individuals are more likely to take risks on themselves, to branch outside of their comfort zone, and to keep chasing their goals only until they achieve what they set out to achieve. 

In looking at the two different mindsets, which one do you think is going to result in more success? Not only that, but sustainable success as well? 

You may have heard the quotes “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” or “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” To individuals with a fixed mindset, these quotes mean nothing. Hard work will never be able to beat talent, and it doesn’t matter what you might think, if you weren’t born with certain skills, you will never develop them. Fixed mindset individuals believe talent is the be-all-end-all to success, and because one is born with talent, there is no need to never really apply themselves or seek change. 

To be completely honest, I lived with this mindset for the longest time. I always wondered why other individuals that I grew up with were much more successful than I was. Why were they born with the ability to get good grades without having to apply themselves? Why were some better athletes than I was without having to work hard? 

Because I long believed that individuals were either born talented or not, I quit applying myself. Instead, I became lazy, I started living with remorse, and I became incredibly envious. 

A few years later, guess what had changed in my life? Nothing good. I never applied myself, I never took risks, and I didn’t have the desire to learn. So instead of moving forward in life, I began to retract. I became depressed, I hated life, and everything seemed to simply pile up against me. 

It wasn’t until I started to develop a growth mindset that my life began to change… for the better. I began to feel more confident in myself. I began to take more risks. I developed a desire to learn as much as I possibly could. And because of all of this, I began to create the life for myself that I wanted to live. 

Throughout Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck gives examples of other individuals like me who were once stuck in a fixed mindset. It wasn’t until they started to focus on growth and challenging themselves to learn something new every day that they began to see the success they once craved. 

For the individuals who stayed in a fixed mindset, sure, they may have achieved success to some degree, but they weren’t able to sustain that success. 

Take Crystler for example. More specifically, Lee Iacocca. 

Iacocca was an individual who had a fixed mindset. He was complacent, he took all the credit for the brief success that Crystler had, surrounded himself with worshippers, and he worried more about his own image than about the company. When other companies started to stray away from the boxed shape car, Iacocca didn’t. Why would anybody change or expand on something that wasn’t broken? Iacocca thought all of these other companies were going to fail, so instead of expanding with them, he remained put. 

Seeking approval from others to compensate for his low self-esteem led him to make bad decisions. As sales began plummeting, he began placing blame on everyone around him instead of asking himself how he can grow the company. innovative designers were fired, other executives were to blame, and throughout all of the turmoil, Iacocca never took responsibility or sought any change. All in all, this helped to contribute to the massive downfall of Crystler.

Now, look at somebody such as Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of IBM. Gerstner was an individual who leveraged a growth mindset to turn his organization around. When he accepted his role, the organization was in trouble. Stocks were plummeting, and the company was slowly falling apart. 

IBM as a whole was saturated with fixed mindset leaders. These individuals were motivated by ego, power, and the desire to control every little piece of the company. When they began to fall apart, none of the “leaders” took responsibility. Instead, they were reluctant to acknowledge their deficiencies, and the business started to suffer even more.

Gerstner recognized the internal battles at IBM were taking away from teamwork and customer service, so like the true leader he was, he broke up old hierarchies and even put himself on an employee level to communicate well with those who were on the frontline. He toured factories, met with assembly-line workers, and asked for their input on the changes that they wished to see. Because he focused so heavily on teamwork and learning from past failures (which is what a growth mindset is all about), he showed a true growth mindset and brought sustainable success to IBM.

So why is this important for you? Why should you take the time out of your life to read this book? 

I bet you didn’t know that everybody has a little bit of both mindsets. Think about when you were a baby. You probably wanted to do anything and everything. However, as you grew older, your mindset began to change. You started listening to the opinions of others, cared how others perceived you, and began conforming to societal norms. Over time, you probably resisted change in your life because you were worried about being judged. Now, you may even find it incredibly difficult to create any sizeable change in your life. Perhaps you even feel cornered. 

The good news, though, is that regardless of where you are today, with awareness, you can develop a growth mindset. It’s important for you to read this book or at least know about the two mindsets so that when you find yourself in a fixed mindset, you can recognize it and change your thinking. It’s not always going to be easy, but it is going to be incredibly beneficial for both you and your growth as an individual. 

So if you’re somebody who finds themself to be stuck and not know how to advance to the next stage of their life but has the desire to do so, then this book is definitely for you. It is going to give you insight into why you need to change, how to change, and how to appreciate change. It is a recipe for success.

Michael Bonnell

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