Exploring The Growth Mindset – Podcast Notes

As mentioned in today’s podcast episode, here are the notes we prepared in preparation for the podcast and made available to you with page references, etc.

Mindset Podcast

Podcast episode is here: https://benldodge.podbean.com/e/experience-the-growth-mindset-like-never-before/

Ideas below are discussed and taken from the book: Mindset, by Carol Dweck

“People have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought.” (5)

Growth mindset doesn’t mean that anyone can be anything, that I could be as great as Mozart, Einstein or Michael Jordan. It does mean that my true potential is far beyond the limits I have placed on myself, and that it is both unknown and unknowable all that I could accomplish if I continue on a pathway of growth, with perseverance, effort, commitment and grit. (7) Was it Mozart’s natural born talent or practicing until his hands became crippled? Was it Jordan’s athleticism, or his drive to improve daily, manifested in being the first one to practice and the last one to leave? (63)

(Ben Dodge completely and respectfully disagrees with the above – anyone can absolutely be as great or better than these examples. It is a simple formula: given a enough time and determination you will be the absolute best at whatever you set out to do. If you die before reaching the desired outcome then you died a happy person, but the formula remains true; give me enough time and I’ll apply enough determination to be the best in what ever sphere I choose. Talent is created not inherited at birth. Neither genetics nor circumstances you are born into are more important than determination and time. This is what a growth mindset really looks like. This is how it feels to live without limits. Embrace it and stop making excuses for yourself based on your genetics or family circumstances.)

“The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” (6)

A mere belief in this growth mindset engenders a desire for learning and trying new things, new challenges and opportunities. Why would you waste time proving to yourself over and over that you are great, when you could be getting better? Why would you be afraid of failing and hide your weaknesses instead of embracing them and overcoming them? (7)

People with a fixed mindset are afraid of challenge and minimize effort and work. With a fixed mindset you worry more about what other people think of you. You are constantly being judged. They are always out to prove themselves worthy, and are overly sensitive to being wrong, to not looking good, making mistakes and failing. You are looking for validation. And sadly you are blind to it. You would never see yourself as a “non-learner”. But the fear of not being good enough, not being smart enough, has blinded you to the fact that you are not growing, not becoming.

How do I know if I have a fixed or growth mindset?

Do you get more satisfaction from not making any mistakes, being perfect, when something is easy for you? Or do you get more satisfaction from doing hard things, working on something for an extended period of time, and figuring things out? (24)

Are you afraid of feedback or does feedback energize you? In the growth mindset, feedback doesn’t define you. Failure doesn’t define you. They are hard and difficult yes, but they don’t define you. I failed doesn’t become I am a failure. (33)

Being a failure doesn’t sit well with most, so these with a fixed mindset look to blame others, situations, to make themselves the victim in the situation to remove the failure label that they assigned to themselves. (36) John Wooden says you are never a failure until you quit trying and start blaming others. That’s when you leave the realm of learning and growing.

Fixed mindset has a preference for success with little effort. Excuses protect the confidence of a person with a fixed mindset. (51) In the growth mindset, you won’t always have confidence, nor have a need for it. You can do things “badly” (mentioned two weeks ago)

Fixed mindset people thrive in high school. It’s where people distinguish themselves as cool or not cool, jocks or not jocks, smart or dumb. And those with a fixed mindset carry this over past high school. It is manifested at your 10 year reunion. I still get asked today if I played football in High School. (58)

How do I create a growth mindset culture in my business?

Growth motivates growth. Improvement is exciting that it engenders a desire for continuous improvement. (88)

When companies are fixated on bringing in the top talent, it creates a culture fixated on talent, that worships talent, forcing employees into a mixed mindset, having to act talented. They become afraid to take risks and don’t want to be seen as a try hard. They won’t ask questions. They won’t be accountable, they will blame others or circumstances, and they’d rather be dishonest than admit responsibility. (109)

Hiring people with the growth mindset, you will create a culture where people aren’t trying to prove themselves, people won’t be taking credit for others’ contributions, they won’t be trying to protect their reputation, but they will be accountable for their mistakes, be open to feedback and make appropriate changes. (111)

One of the biggest set backs to the fixed mindset in business is they will have this running in the background and not even be aware of it. They aren’t maliciously trying to do the company harm. But subconsciously they will do what makes them feel good and look good over what would be best for the company over time. (122)

OL—weight room, doing curls for girls instead of core exercises.

As a leader of a company, if you are controlling and micro-managing, you will force your people into a fixed mindset state. Instead of improving and growing, people are worrying about being judged. This fear smothers innovation and creativity. (124)

Jack Welch, one of the greatest CEO’s of all time, wasn’t always how he ended up. He was picked for the job because of his desire to grow and improve. He never claimed to be the greatest leader in the world. He just promised to grow and learn. He wasn’t perfect, but he was devoted to continuous improvement (128)

One of the challenges of working with millennials is they were raised to not fail. They were raised being praised for their every action. They got participation trophies. That is creating a work force that can’t take criticism or feedback and need constant acknowledgment. So it is critical to give them opportunities and experiences to nurture the growth mindset: praise only when people take initiative, struggling and learning through a challenge, seeing something through to the end, seek feedback or embrace accountability. (137)

Talent is nice with the growth mindset, but that’s just the beginning. Growth mindset leaders are more committed to their employees’ development and their own. They consistently teach that change and growth are possible. They demonstrate that the organization values growth and grit, not quick wins or talent. They give feedback that nurtures the growth mindset. They teach that everyone can be a leader. (140)

“Create an organization that prizes the development of ability—and watch the leaders emerge.” (142) 

How do I help my children have a growth mindset?

Praise your children not for the special gifts and talents they have. Praise them for doing whatever it takes to accomplish something. When you praise young people for effort, they desire to do more challenging tasks. When you praise them for talent, they shy away from challenges, so as to not to lose face. Praise for talent also encourages young people to be dishonest about their results to avoid shame.

One study of the top 120 musicians, athletes, artists, scientists and mathematicians showed that there were NOT remarkable distinctions between them and their peers before they began training in earnest. (65) What made them elite was their training. Their work ethic, grit, commitment, motivation and support system.

@ Who is your hero? Who do you want to be like? Go talk to them and find out what they did, the challenges they overcame, the goals they set, the failures they endured, the grit they demonstrated.

@ Think of someone that you consider smarter than you, more talented than you, or luckier than you. Are you open to the possibility that they might have worked harder? They might have practiced more? They might have self-taught themselves things? They may have taken more risks? Used better methods? (81)

Compliments to children: You are so smart! You are brilliant! You were the first one done! Praising talent and speed inhibits motivation and performance. Children hunger for acknowledgment. Yet with these types of acknowledgments, the moment they hit a challenge or adversity, their confidence drops, they think they aren’t good enough, or not smart enough, they doubt themselves and they label themselves failures. You can’t give your kids permanent confidence by praising their talent and intellect. Best thing you can do is to get your kids to love challenge, enjoy effort, develop commitment and grit, and to embrace failure and adversity as teaching tools, learning opportunities. Ask questions to have the child reflect on the effort they put in, and to focus on improvement from previous efforts. (177)

One of the biggest errors parents make is to shield their children from failure. (inherently selfish—if you fail I fail) All parents want the best for their children. “pressure cooker parents” “helicopter parents.” Story of hawk and Sammy. When parents portray a fixed mindset they are asking their child to either fit the mold perfectly, to be the super hero child. And if not they are failures. No room for late bloomers. No room for individual expression. Creates rebels or quitters. (192)

How do I create a marriage that thrives and grows over time?

Fixed mindset wants a spouse that makes them feel perfect, that worships them, puts them on a pedestal. A growth mindset person wants their spouse to help them become better, overcome faults and weaknesses, encourage them to learn new things. (19)

Mindsets in marriage: fixed mindset doesn’t believe that spouse can change, and also believes that everything should be bliss, that compatibility exists naturally. Problem comes when problems come. “A no-effort relationship is a doomed relationship, not a great relationship. It takes work to communicate accurately and it takes work to expose and resolve conflicting hopes and beliefs. It doesn’t mean there is no ‘they lived happily ever after,’ but it’s more like ‘they worked happily ever after.”

Fixed mindsetà leadership and self-deception. Conflict leads to blame, and blame evolves into a character flaw. When you blame you feel anger and disgust towards that person. (153) “So once people with the fixed mindset see flaws in their partners, they become contemptuous of them and dissatisfied with the whole relationship.” In this failing relationship either 1. You are a bad person, 2. Your partner is a bad person or 3. The relationship is beyond repair.

Fixed mindset has a payout: the more you can blame, the more superior you feel. (158)

Growth mindset: the beauty of marriage is that you grow together. You inspire each other to improve and become. You encourage each other to set goals and accomplish them. Human development is most rewarding in the familial setting.


“Becoming is better than being.” Fixed mindset doesn’t permit you the opportunity to become—you must already “be”.

Malcom Gladwell suggests that the super hero mentality has primed us as a culture to revere the natural, effortless endowed individual, that can accomplish things with ease over the individual that through extenuating effort, commitment and grit gain achievement. Be a true super hero and grow (41)

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