Thursday, 23 July 2015


There is a great difference between failing to achieve a result and the conclusion you draw about yourself. In Carol Dweck's book 'Mindset' she explains that those who stay down after a setback make a judgment that they have failed, not just that their attempt failed. Moreover, people with a 'fixed mindset' often generalize from their “failures” to conclusions such as, “I am a loser,” and “I will probably always fail. Therefore, they assume, there is no point in getting up and working at problems and issues. So they quit, they give up and they seek a more comfortable option such as eating, drinking, shopping whatever to avoid facing what they consider to be their personal failure.
However, Carol Dweck develops a model which is about the 'growth mindset' and the old wisdom that says that the sooner we make our first 5000 mistakes, the sooner we will learn how to do anything really well. New wisdom talks about trying many things, failing fast and often, and learning lots and quickly. We must take small risks, make lots of small mistakes and grow, develop and learn each time. We must continue to try, try, try again because that is how we learn, in school or business—and most importantly in life.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong!
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Our brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Whatever you do in love, work and life, there is no failure, just feedback and we need to rethink and re-imagine how we develop character, grit, determination and passion for learning. We need to start young and use the available toolkits to ensure that every child is a reader, writer and counter by eight, a powerful little learner by eleven and a 'better learner and better worker' by the time they leave school. Everyone should read Martin Seligman's Flourish, Matthew Gladwell's Outliers, Daniel Pink’s Whole New Mind and Drive, Matthew Syed's Bounce, Carol Dweck’s work on mindset and Angela Duckworth’s work on grit which outline why we need to develop character alongside functional skills and academic and vocational excellence.

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