Mindset - Carol Dweck

Mindset - Carol Dweck

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes


“In this book, you’ll learn how a simple belief about yourself—a belief we discovered in our research—guides a large part of your life. In fact, it permeates every part of your life. Much of what may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential grows out of it."

"No book has ever explained this mindset and shown people how to make use of it in their lives. You’ll suddenly understand the greats—in the sciences and arts, in sports, in business—and the would-have-beens. You’ll understand your mate, your boss, your friends, your kids. You’ll see how to unleash your potential—and your children’s.”


We've talked quite a lot about beliefs already:

  • What to Say When You Talk to Yourself 
  • Brain Rules
  • How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win big
  • A Guide to The Good Life

But this one belief might just trump them all when it comes down too it..

  • This one belief that all the greats share
  • The greatest business leaders
  • The top sports stars
  • Successful artists


“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?”

Fixed Mindset

“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”

Growth Mindset

“In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

How can one belief have so much power?

Here Carol is talking about the real core of the book..  

  • She explains what fixed mindset is and what growth mindset is..  
  • There are a few common characteristics among each group..

But how can one belief hold so much power?

  • Well the belief or mindset we're talking about here doesn't just effect one thing..  
  • Most 'belief' retraining or self talk focuses on one thing..  Something like "I really am good at reading" in order to overcome one 'limiting belief'
  • But adopting the Growth Mindset is what I would call a meta belief..  

This meta belief will effect literally everything in your life..  It's the difference between whether you stay stuck where you are or whether you work hard to move forward!

Whether it's:

  • Athletically
  • Intellectually
  • Financially
  • etc
  • Look inside..

Which mindset are you in right now?

Fixed Mindset

  • Always focusing on your failures
  • Focusing on what you don't have
  • Not taking on projects because you don't know how

Growth Mindset

  • Focusing on learning 
  • Focusing on what you do have available
  • Taking on projects to stretch your abilities


“Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.”

“When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits— success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself."

"In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential."

"In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented."

"You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.”

What is a persons true potential..

Love the point made here about a persons true potential being unknown..

Great examples inside the book give us a look into the lives of some of the highest performers we know today..  The one thing that sets them apart is not that they were born with it!

  • Michael Jordan
  • Babe Ruth
  • Muhammad Ali

None of these guys started out as the greatest of all time..  In fact some might say they started off below average!  It's that they are willing to grow and push past their failures.

Failure to achieve something vs failure to grow!

  • This is a great distinction made by Carol..  
  • Does having a growth mindset mean never failing?  
  • No it means changing your definition of failure!

Try this:

  • Think about the last time you failed at something..  
  • Do an post mortem on your thoughts at that point! 
  • What were you thinking?

Fixed Mindset

  • Shoot I shouldnt have tried..
  • Why am I not enough..
  • I won't try that again..
  • Growth Mindset
  • Wow I'm going to have to try that again.. 
  • What can I learn from that.. 
  • How can I plan to succeed next time?

Effortless Only

“Malcolm Gladwell, the author and New Yorker writer, has suggested that as a society we value natural, effortless accomplishment over achievement through effort. We endow our heroes with superhuman abilities that lead them inevitably toward their greatness. It’s as if Midori popped out of the womb fiddling, Michael Jordan dribbling, and Picasso doodling. This captures the fixed mindset perfectly. And it’s everywhere.”

Superhuman Abilities..

Does our modern world cherish only the people who make it look easy?

  • When you hear stories about successful champions what do they talk about?
  • Their skills and abilities..
  • Or their sickening work ethic?

See the fixed mindset is easy to fall into because that's what most people are in!

  • As you can see the way people are describing the greats is with a fixed mindset..
  • Almost assuming that they've always been that talented!

What if you turned your language around?

  • Instead of seeing how talented people are..  See how hard they must have worked to get there!
  • This puts you on the same playing field if you're willing to work for it!
  • Because as Carol says here..  No one is born talented at anything!

Regardless of Outcome

“The growth-minded athletes, CEOs, musicians, or scientists all loved what they did, whereas many of the fixed-minded ones did not."

"Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do."

"This point is also crucial. In the fixed-mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”

So often we hear people say 'do what you love'.. 

But as a person who has done that since the age of 18

  • Two different successful businesses
  • Both of which I loved!  (in the beginning)

Loving what you do..  Long term..  Is incredibly difficult!

  • That is it's incredibly difficult when you're in the fixed mindset!
  • But when you're in a growth mindset it's much easier..

Let me tell you a little bit about my story of going from fixed to growth mindset in business..

  • While I tell you this I want to underscore that it's still a work in progress..
  • Failure still hurts sometimes.


“Michael Jordan embraced his failures. In fact, in one of his favorite ads for Nike, he says: “I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and missed.” You can be sure that each time, he went back and practiced the shot a hundred times.”

Counting the failures..  Because they lead to success!

After every 'No' or every failure comes the opportunity for a 'Yes' or a win!

This is something that needs to be said again and again..  

Because it's not a failure..  It's a try!  It's a learning experience..

The sales game:

This is an interesting game taught to me by one of my mentors..  

If you're in business or sales take inventory of two things

1. All of your revenue over a given period of time

2. Take all of your rejections over a given period of time

Take that revenue and divide it by the number of no's

This gives you an idea of how much each 'no was worth' and can help you stay motivated to keep going!


“Think of something you need to do, something you want to learn, or a problem you have to confront. What is it? Now make a concrete plan. When will you follow through on your plan? Where will you do it? How will you do it? Think about it in vivid detail."

"These concrete plans—plans you can visualize—about when, where, and how you are going to do something lead to really high levels of follow-through, which, of course, ups the chances of success."

"So the idea is not only to make a growth-minded plan, but also to visualize, in a concrete way, how you’re going to carry it out.”

Don't just fail and resolve to 'try try again' that's just self punishment.. 

Make your failures worth something by looking at the objectively..

What went right about the failure?

What could have went better?

What can you do to improve for next time?

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