Some time ago, a kind soul gave all of the teachers/staff at the private elementary school I work at a copy of MINDSET: THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESS by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. I started a while ago but didn't get very far and just found it in my to-read stack the other day, so I re-started again. This book discusses how we can learn to fulfill our potential in various areas, such as parenting, business, school and relationships.
Dweck discusses the power of mindset and motivation from the perspective of two different mindsets: the fixed mindset, those that believe abilities are fixed, and the growth mindset, those who believe abilities can be developed.
I am not yet very far and am excited to read and learn as I go, but I already find myself identifying a particular way (time will tell!) and highlighting bits of wisdom as I go.
One of the first things that really spoke to me and kicked off the highlighting was the following, "When you're lying on your deathbed, one of the cool things to say is, 'I really explored myself.'"
Wow, yes! I think (for myself anyway) it can be easy to go through life complacent and not really pushing for more...more knowledge, more understanding, more love, whatever the case may be. As I considered this and thought about it from the perspective of my writing life, it really hit home. Being a children's author is a constant state of learning, knowledge and skill development as well as persistence and perseverance. For as Dweck says, "People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower."
That it does. As well as determination. And grit. And failure. But then you dust yourself off and get back on the saddle, so to speak. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again or so my mom often told me growing up. And Dweck appears to agree..."When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don't define them. And if abilities can be expanded--if change and growth are possible--then there are still many paths to success."
Such is the way of the writing life. Try, fail, try, fail, try some more and, hopefully, succeed. "You have to work hardest for the things you love most." So very true, Ms. Dweck. I know, for me, this has really boiled down to believing in myself and being willing to work hard. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not, but the efforts always pay dividends in one way or another. I will leave you with one final piece of wisdom gained in this most recent reading.
Dweck says, "...In the growth mindset, you don't always need confidence...even when you think you're not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it...you don't have to think you're already great at something to want to do it and to enjoy doing it."
This. Is. Big! For so long, I've struggled to put voice to being a children's author unless in the company of other authors who understood all the ups and downs. I felt inferior perhaps for a variety of reasons...I'm not exactly a block buster selling author, many think writing picture books is cute and a piece of cake, etc. It is just often hard to own it without the perceived rewards to support that claim. I'm working on this and will continue to do so, but reading Dweck's words really helped me. When confidence fails, I will live in the enjoyment and embrace the process, wherever it leads. Because I will be enjoying it wholeheartedly.
Clearly, I am enjoying this book and, while I am only on chapter 3, I certainly recommend you check it out!