On mindsets

I’ve been meaning to read Mindset by Carol Dweck for a long time, but finally am forced to because it’s the first reading for my first class in my (first?) doctoral program.  (Okay, okay, this better be my only doctoral program.)


Anyway, I’m only on page 8 but something hit me so profoundly that I needed to blog about it.

She writes:

To give you a better sense of how the two mindsets work, imagine – as vividly as you can – that you are a young adult having a really bad day:  One day, you go to a class that is really important to you and that you like a lot.  The professor returns the midterm papers to the class.  You got a C+. You’re very disappointed. That evening on the way back to your home, you find that you’ve gotten a parking ticket.  Being really frustrated, you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off.

Then she talks about those with a growth mindset vs. those with a . . . set? . . . mindset (I’m not far enough to know what the opposite of growth mindset is called.  [Edit:  Set mindset, ha ha.  I think it’s fixed mindset.]

But I don’t have to imagine her scenario because I have my own:

I was really excited, eager to start the program for my BA in elementary education, which would allow me to eventually become a librarian.  I worked as a secretary and had a great boss, who allowed me to work over lunch or later on some days so I could go to class on others.  Classes started in the city, about 45 minutes away, at 4:30.  These were definitely designed for people already working in a school, rather than a secretary like me!  But I forgot something at home, so I had to go twenty minutes the other way first.  I was scooting along at a clip so I wouldn’t be late, and I got a speeding ticket.  After dealing with that, I sat in my car and cried, and I had to make a decision:  Was I going to go to this first class late, or just forget about the whole thing?  I didn’t have the money for the program and would rely on student loans.  I worked a full-time job and had five kids at home.  Was this smart?  Maybe I should just go home and crawl into bed.

I didn’t.  And I can honestly count that decision as the one that made it so here I sit, reading this book . . . for my doctorate!  Boo-ya!