Last week, one of my students presented me with this book.
Her dad is a superintendent in a neighboring school district and explained that his staff had read, loved, and learned from this book during the summer. On top of the book was a pink post-it note with the words “Thank you for being you.” The subject matter of the book, the kind note, and the timing of this gift brought tears to my eyes. Little did I know, this small book would have a HUGE impact on my life.
This post is going to sound like a book review at first. In a sense, it is. But bear with me, there is more.
Although unassuming and plain, this book has SO much to offer. The focus is on mindset and how it affects every aspect of your life. The author explains that there are two mindsets people have: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The explanations of both are simple yet powerful.
The fixed mindset is the belief that your abilities are carved in stone. This mindset creates the urgency to prove yourself over and over.
The growth mindset is the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. There is an emphasis on being able to change and grow through application and experience. It allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.
As soon as I read that statement, I was hooked. Challenging time? I’m right smack dab in the middle of the most painfully challenging time of my life.
A quote that accurately explains the growth mindset is this:
“A person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); it’s impossible to forsee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, or training.”
The author even goes so far as to say that “failure IS a painful experience, but it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.”
As I was reading, I could just feel myself nodding. The pages of my book were filled with exclamation points, highlighted phrases, bracketed sections, and comments written in the margins. During independent reading, I could feel my students staring at my in confusion…wondering why I was excitedly writing in my book when I was supposed to be reading.
Because of the current situation I’m experiencing, the chapter on how your mindset affects and influences your relationships with people really struck a chord. I read and reread, analyzed and collected some of the most valuable quotes and pieces of information from this section. On first glance, it looks like a typical “be better” section of a book. But the more deeper you think about what you are reading, the more you try to apply what is being said to your life…the more valuable it all becomes. The following section is woven together from different pages from the section. It doesn’t come from just one page or heading. It’s woven together from all of the ideas to make complete sense.
Relationships and your Mindset
The belief that success shouldn’t be taxing, uncomfortable, or hard work robs people of exactly what they need to make their relationship thrive. The belief that being in love means never having to do anything difficult is absolutely devastating to a relationship. It takes extremely hard work to communicate correctly and expose/resole conflicting hopes and beliefs. The idea of “they lived happily ever after” is more accurately expressed as “they worked happily ever after.”
Once people in the fixed mindset see flaws in their partners, they become contemtuous of them and dissatisfied with the whole relationship. It’s better and healthier to acknowledge each other’s limitations and build from there.
The belief that partners have the potential for change should NOT be confused with the belief that the partner WILL change. The partner has to watn to change, commit to change, and take concrete actions toward change.
The growth mindset lets you rise above the blame, understand the problem, and try to fix it–TOGETHER.
Every single part of that relationship section was completely eye-opening. It didn’t make what I’m experiencing any easier but allowed me to start to formulate answers from a situation that has made absolutely zero sense.
I’ll leave you with a few powerful ideas from the remainder of the book. These can be applied to any aspect of your life. I’ve made them into quotes and have posted them in my classroom and on my bathroom mirror at my apartment.
“Embrace all things that have felt threatening: challenge, struggle, criticism, and setbacks.”
“Love challenge, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.”
Here’s to shifting myself from the fixed mindset to the growth mindset and understanding that others may not be willing to do the same.