Shifting That Mindset

Most of  you know, I’m working from home these days (love it). Today I needed to visit my former school to help a colleague with some HP netbooks I had left for them to use. My friend and I chatted while I was on the phone with tech support (two hours later, we finally had an image restore file), and I was reminded how powerful one’s mindset is.

This friend epitomizes one who is willing and eager to learn, not afraid to try new things. She came into her position knowing absolutely nothing about technology or computers, yet this week she is THE support person as the network administrator is out of town. She’s jumping in, asking questions, trying techniques on her own–and learning. With a big smile on her face, she explained how she was able to set up some new laptops and get them on the network.

“Everything keeps changing,” she said about our new software. “But that’s ok because I can usually figure it out.”

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset changed my own thinking about intelligence and talent. And from her website, this quote truly resonates:

Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners.”

My friend is a learner with what Dweck calls a “growth mindset,” and it was so cool to see such confidence and enthusiasm. According to Dweck,

People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve?

If only we could all frame our learning in this way.