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Developing our talents: the Growth Mindset

Posted Nov 03 2009 10:00pm

The growth mindset

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck explains how important attitude can be in developing our talents.

“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts,” she writes.

“Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

“Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven?

“No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable), that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.”

Exemplars of creative achievement

She notes that the idea of “inherent” genius is to a great extent a myth.

“Did you know that Darwin and Tolstoy were considered ordinary children? That Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated and graceless as a child?

Untitled Film Still #13 by Cindy Sherman “That the photographer Cindy Sherman [photo], who has been on virtually every list of the most important artists of the 20th century, failed her first photography course?

“That Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent?

“You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better?”

Book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Book site:

Related posts:
Carol Dweck on the growth mindset
It takes more than talent to find your true potential

This video (by Coert Visser) includes brief quotes by Dweck, plus a number of authors, educators and other people on attitudes and mindset related to personal excellence and achievement.

mindset and achievement, mindset and ability, developing talent, attitude and talent development

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