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Fixed vs. Growth
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Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford, has done research around the concept that, generally speaking, people can be categorized into two mindsets for learning: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

A person with a fixed mindset sees himself as the possessor of a genetically defined level of intelligence and talents and abilities, established at birth.

A person with a growth mindset looks at problems with the attitude that, with enough time and effort, they can change and grow, valuing effort more than innate ability. Praised for his effort, a person will try even harder next time.

People with a fixed mindset tend to take the easy way out. The person will say something like, I did this task this way because it was easier. Or will skate through classes on general knowledge, getting by with the occasional perusal of a text. Praised for their intelligence, they will take the easy way out.

At work, the fixed mindset person will do tasks the way they've always been done--it's the easy way out. A person with a growth mindset will be looking for more efficient, more effective alternatives, and will be more likely to be proactive in approaching problematic situations.

The effects last into old age, as I know only too well. The fixed mindset says, Well, that's it. I'm handicapped/old/sick. This is the way I am. Can't do....

The growth mindset says, Well, yes, I've got a bad knee or Parkinson's (or whatever), but I'm going to exercise, I'm going to contribute to society by tutoring, I'm going to find ways to remain active and engaged. I'm going to choose to grow in the ways I can (and push the boundaries of what I think I can do).

Professor Dweck's research does not address the work environment and old age (to my knowledge), as I have done in the last three paragraphs above, but I think her paradigm works well.

Attitude, mindset, is everything.

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