Last week I finished Carol Dweck's book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and I loved it. The book mainly talks about the two different mindsets; one which is fixed and the other is one of growth. The book has chapters about the two mindsets and how they relate to relationships, parenting, business, arts and more.
Basically, people with the fixed mindset believe that you are born with a certain set of abilities and you can not learn or grow to be more, while people with a growth mindset believe you can always learn more and grow. The good news is that you can develop a growth mindset if you want to.
I found the chapters on relationships and parenting very interesting and useful. There were many ways of applying the knowledge to real life. It also helps you re-evaluate how you interact with others and yourself. But the thing that I loved most was how it viewed talent. How talent with a fixed mindset could be the cause of its own demise, and when coupled with a growth mindset it could blossom into amazing things.
I have always felt uncomfortable when people tell me that I am talented because it made me feel like a fraud. I don't think I am talented, I just think I have perseverance and that I am stubborn when I want to learn something new. I started crocheting on my own and my first items were quite sad. Even my photography was sad. If you look at my blog from that time you would probably laugh. It has taken a lot of time, effort, sweat and tears to be able to make the things I make. And I still think I am far from true mastery, I wish I could learn speed knitting, master cables and knit the most intricate colorwork sweaters without batting an eyelash. I still frog because of mistakes or because I hate the colors I chose. I still learn new techniques every day and want to learn more. This applies to everything in my life. I have gone from a single software engineer with a career to a stay at home mom who couldn't cook or bake to a work at home mom who enjoys baking, sewing and knitting. I have gone from a parent who had no idea what to do to a mother who is comfortable and understands that no one has all the answers and that it is a journey for both of us. I have gone from a wife who was terrified of making mistakes to a woman who is happy and satisfied and ready to give her marriage all that she has got because it is worth it and that it is a relationship that grows not a status you earn by signing a marriage contract.
I have had people tell me that I am “lucky” for having it all. I don't think I am lucky. I am blessed. I was blessed with a set of things that I got through no work on my part. But keeping them, growing them and nurturing was all hard work. Learning a new skill is never easy or fast. It takes time. And it takes the mindset of growth. Knowing that you have to work at it. You have to log in the hours.
People who say “I could never knit, I don't have the patience” or “I can't bake a cake, it is so hard” are the people who have coded that their skill set is fixed. No one is born with cake baking skills. And you don't knit because you are patient, you learn patience because you learn how to knit.
I might never be prolific or talented as some of knitting heros, but that is ok, I am happy trying to reach them anyway.