Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Author: Carol S. Dweck
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by Akatchuk   2017-12-06

EDIT: Sorry, this is really really long and I can't really give it a TL;DR, but there's a few points in bold to help you out!

1) Happiness isn't something you find, it's something you create.

This is a concept that took me a while to understand. I could see all the people around me looking happy, people on social media posting about their amazing lives, and poor little me, comparing my sad shitty life to these amazing things.

There's a few problems in there, though. One is comparison to others, another one is understanding what others' lives are really like, and a third one is ignoring the good thing. Let's start with the third point, because it ties back nicely to my first sentence.

I firmly believe that you can change your mindset from negative to positive. I also firmly believe that it can be incredibly difficult to do, and it has taken me 3 months of therapy to work out how to do it. Sure, I could explain the theory, but having someone to report to every week is what really made a difference here.

I believe that happiness is never too far away, but that you need to adjust your "happiness lens" to find it. If you've got a massive telephoto happiness lens, you'll spot others' happiness much more easily than the factors that could bring happiness to your life. Take a step back, get a smaller lens that won't do a great job of focusing on things too far from you and your life.

I find gratitude immensely helpful in understand where I can find happiness. There's a few things in life that always make me happy: going to bed, eating a tasty dish, listening to a song I used to love. These are tiny, but if you look closer, your days can be made of those happy little moments. All it takes is becoming aware of them.

Today, for example, I didn't wake up too early. Then I had a lovely warm shower, go to play the piano a little and enjoyed the sun on my way to the train station. I got a seat on the train, my book reached a really exciting point, I ate a very tasty croissant for breakfast. This was all before 10am. These are all pretty insignificant, in the grand scheme of things, right? But their magic is that they're happening all the time.

Action point: start practicing gratitude by listing 3 things you're thankful for each day (it can be having drank less, having found a useful Reddit post, having watched a cool film).

Now as I mentioned earlier, being aware of what can go on in people's lives is pretty important. In our era of social media, perfect people flooding Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. it can be difficult to put up with the awesomeness of these lives, their travels, dishes, outfits, fitness, etc. What's key to remember here, is that 1) we only see a tiny sliver of someone's life, 2) they usually only show you the really good stuff, because they care about being cool, 3) we have no idea what might actually be going on in their lives.

Keeping up appearances is a behaviour that's incited by our self-policing society, where you must look a certain way, be at a certain stage in your life doing certain things, etc. People will go very far to pretend everything is fine when they're hiding a lot of misery behind a thin veneer of happiness. An example that comes to mind is disgruntled Instagrammers who spend most of their day trying to find the perfect angle for the perfect shot - they have 100 versions of the same picture, but you only see one. They'll be thinking of the time they wasted, how another Instagrammer is gonna look better anyway, the numbers of followers they lost, etc. That smile in that picture might be incredibly disingenuous for all we know.

Action point: Try to think of the big picture. That perfect couple you see all the time on Facebook might be in a terrible relationship. Your favourite Instagrammer could be hiding a drug addiction, someone who's being quiet around you may actually be having big problems that they just haven't told you about.

As for comparison with others, it's very easy to look at what people seem to have, compared to what you do/don't have. There's an image that stuck to my mind, though, which was that if you spent your time looking at your neighbour's green grass, it was no surprise yours was patchy and yellow. So find your watering can, and focus on you, and you only. It could be that you feel like you need a life overhaul, and that's fine. Pick one thing and focus on it. You want to do 10,000 things and you feel overwhelmed? Start with one thing. Add another one when you're ok with the first thing, then add a third one, etc. Nothing comes to mind? Think of something you'd like to have achieved in your life, and work back from that. It might take a while, and the path might not be so easy, but work will help.

Learn to build discipline and habit so you have a safety net when things go awry. I really like /r/theXeffect for that, where you have a simple goal, a card with days on, and you cross out each da you've carried out the action on your card. One of mine was to brush my teeth after lunch, and now I do it automatically and don't even think about it anymore. Another one was meditating every day - this is still in progress, but I'm on a 30+-days streak.

Action point: Find something that interests you and will help you be fulfilled - a habit, a hobby, a more general life goal, and develop a system to progress towards it. This will keep you occupied and you will develop a skill that you can later focus on honing.

2) Practice compassion and self-compassion

It sounds like you have a lot of contempt for yourself and others. This ties back to having such a negative mindset that's probably very deeply entrenched in your own psyche, but being able to relate to the human condition as a whole makes it easier to appreciate others and yourself. Yes, a lot of people are dicks. What really matters here is that 1) they don't do it because they hate you, they do it because their lives have guided them to act that way ("People aren't against you, they're for themselves"), 2) we're only humans, we all make mistakes and this is something to be more accepting of.

If someone finds pleasure in criticising or judging someone else on say, their clothes, or appearance, or anything, while there might be subjective truth to it (they don't look great in that jumper), the simple act of criticising/judging shows that that person is likely unhappy with some aspect of their life and are trying to make themselves feel better by putting someone else down. It's a sucky attitude, and it reflects more on the person's character than on the victim.

A good solution for that is self-compassion. Self-compassion isn't about lovey-dovey statements about how you're perfect. Self-compassion is simply being kinder to yourself - understanding where you come from, what you've been through and accepting that even if this isn't the situation you wanted to be in, it's ok to be where you are. Failure is part and parcel of human life, and learning to see it as a way to growth will make life easier for you.

Action point: Pick up something by Kristin Neff - her audiobook is good if you want the science behind it.

Ultimately, what I mostly see is a lot of insecurity and lack of self-confidence that you take out on people. As a result of this negative mindset, you're finding it difficult to see the good in people, situations and life, and it's no wonder you feel so stuck. But that's ok. Sure, it's a crappy situation you're in at the moment, but you were smart enough to identify there was an issue, and brave enough to go to a doctor. Maybe your challenge could be to call that number your doctor give you and give it a chance? It might not be exactly what you feel you need, but it could also be a step in the right direction. If you're in a place where you feel you could help yourself, I recommend Mind Over Mood , which has exercises on re-training your brain to shift your mindset. I also recommend Carol Dweck's Mindset a lot, simply because it's a bit of a game changer on understanding how our brain works and how we're wired and can rewire ourselves. I've mentioned Kristin Neff above, and the last thing I would suggest you look at is Overcoming Low Self-Esteem , which has the explanation as to why we suffer from it, and some exercises to improve it.

by [deleted]   2017-12-06

I understand your fears. My parents did so many things wrong and I was scared about making the same mistakes and pressured myself hard to make better and different choices with my kid.

I can tell you that you won't make the same mistakes. What other parents told me (before I was parent) was the fact that if I'm even worried about it now, I will already make me a better parent. Shitty parents don't worry about stuff like this.

I would suggest probably getting some therapy to work out whatever fears/issues you have before having kids. I started therapy when my kid was 2 because I was struggling (they're 13 now) because I didn't feel confident in what I was doing. Honestly, I don't know any parent that feels 100% confident, but you can feel like you're doing a pretty good job.

Children need to feel that they can succeed through their own efforts. This is why helicopter parenting is really detrimental. If you never let them strike out on their own, how will they learn and grow from their mistakes and choices? How will they gain confidence when they overcome an obstacle and succeed if you're doing everything for them?

Your kids will always need your help. Your job is to help them realize that through learning, natural consequences, and internal validation, they can and will be successful, capable, and confident adults.

I really liked these parenting books here:

http://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0743525086

And this one: http://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0345472322

And this one here (and I'd still recommend it to parents of boys as well. Doesn't matter if you have only boys): http://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0553393073

This is also a really interesting read and has helped me as well: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+child+whisperer&sprefix=The+Child+whis%2Cstripbooks%2C139&crid=26CCWQN87K6MP

Also a therapy technique called Inner Bonding. Anyone can learn it and it's easy to teach to kids as well: /r/ibtherapy.

by borgchupacabras   2017-12-06

http://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0345472322

by ryanmolden   2017-08-19
This was probably taken from the work of Carol Dweck[0]. I recently read a book she wrote (Mindset[1]) that was recommended on a thread here. The book title sounds like some corny self-help book, and honestly some of the stories in it seemed a bit sappy to me, but I think the underlying idea is solid and I definitely see it myself a lot in my day to day life (full disclosure: recovering fixed mindset person :)).

The basic premise is there are two types of mindsets, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Those with the fixed mindset are those that believe that intelligence, ability, etc.. is basically fixed. You have some certain amount and that's that. The growth mindset believes the general range of these things may be strongly influenced ('fixed') by things like genetics, life circumstances, etc... but improvement within this range is definitely possible and the key to that is hard work and honest assessment of where you are relative to where you want to be.

This relates to the achievement vs. hard work thing because she claims children who are praised for 'being smart' or 'being good at X' tend to gravitate towards the fixed mindset (i.e. 'I get praised because I am smart, I am smart because I can do X well/X comes easily to me, if something doesn't come easily to me it must mean I am not smart/talented'). This causes them to not put in effort when the going gets tough and in fact to avoid challenges because if they fail they view it as a judgement on their core self/competency (not simply an indication of an area for growth).

The growth mindset folks (children praised for doing well because they worked hard at it as opposed to some natural talent or 'smarts') tend to seek challenges as they view them as the engine of growth/improvement.

Using these frameworks as a lens on which to view human behavior can be interesting. I have definitely seen both mindsets in action (in myself and others). I definitely , consciously, try to stay in a growth mindset now, but I think our culture heavily pushes a fixed mindset where someone either has 'it' or they don't, they are smart or they are not, they are talented or they are not. We prefer the 'instant success due to massive talent/smarts' story over the 'worked their ass off for years to build amazing talent and then succeeded due to that hard work'.

The book Talent Is Overrated[2] also touches on this and points out most people that we generally consider 'naturals' at things, if you interview them/study them/look at their past, all have something in common, a tremendous amount of effort in learning/training, above and beyond what most people put in. This also veers towards the 10,000 hour theory of Anders Ericsson[3]

EDIT: Fixed a bunch typos/misspelling I saw in re-reading. Originally typed in IE with no spell check. Area for improvement: spelling.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Dweck

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-The-New-Psychology-Success/dp/...

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Talent-Overrated-World-Class-Performer...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Anders_Ericsson

by mronge   2017-08-19
If you're interested in this, check out the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. I recommend it, it's amazing how hackable your mind is.

http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol-Dweck...

by thinkling   2017-08-19
Interestingly, this is exactly compatible with what Andrea Dwork writes about in "Mindset" [1]: people whose identity evolves around being "smart" or "talented" are often less willing to take on risks or big projects than those who have grown up being praised for their efforts.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol-Dweck...

by Masehead   2017-08-19

If you have some free time, it might be a good idea to take some time to read, journal, and learn new skills.

You can journal about the fall semester and try to brainstorm the reasons for why you got a 2.5 GPA. Were you taking time to study every day, were you spending too much time at Kams, or were you spending too much time alone on reddit and not developing a social circle? There's a lot of reasons that can lead to a difficult semester and identifying them is important to prevent the same problems from happening again in the spring. Also the act of journaling will help you process your thoughts in a more productive way than if you are just ruminating.

Reading would also be a great use of your time because for one, the act of reading helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness. You can also read different books about motivation, psychology, health, or success that can give you some tools on how to think about your problems. Some books that were beneficial to me when I was in a similar situation were, "Change Your Brain Change Your Life (before 25)," "The Defining Decade," and "Mindset." Here's the links to them on Amazon:

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0373892926

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0446561754

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0345472322

Lastly, learning new skills will help you increase your confidence and remind you that you are a capable person. Learn how to solve a rubix cube, learn to play a song on some instrument, take a coding class online, or teach yourself how to make an omelette. Honestly, you can teach yourself anything and it will be beneficial. Learning these small skills will make you feel productive and increase your sense of self-efficacy.

Try not to think of your failures as a sign that there is something inherently wrong with you or that you are a failure. You have an incredible capability to grow as a human in all areas of your life and failing is a good sign to show that your pushing yourself to learn. In the words of John Wooden, "Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be."

I'll leave you with one last quote that I found to be inspirational: "Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all." - Norman Vincent Peale.

ILL!

by wedium   2017-08-19

It's my pleasure, just remember that there are going to be plenty of lows, even if you can summon the strength to try things it won't be a straight line. The statistics are on your side as long as you try, but you won't win every battle.

It's going to be very hard, and if you feel hopeless or desperate you can PM me anytime.

I recommend Carol Dweck for you, it's very relevant, and I think you will enjoy her works, especially the Mindset book:

https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ACarol%20Dweck

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0345472322

by GhotiB   2017-08-19

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0345472322

I recommend it to my students.