Dear yoginis and yogis,
thanks to a recommendation from my friend Simone, I discovered the bestseller “Mindset – changing the way you think to fulfil your potential” by Dr. Carol S. Dweck. What an eye-opener, not only for me as a teacher, but for me as someone who has recovered from several setbacks and is always looking for creative ways to “walk the path of life”.
Dr. Dweck is a famous psychologist who has devoted her research to the difference between a “fixed mindset” (where you believe talent is innate and fear challenging situations that could out you as “not talented”) and a “growth mindset”, in which you welcome new challenges and even setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. Dr. Dweck shows where these mindsets come from, how to avoid the trap of the fixed mindset and how to recover from it. In a nutshell, it’s the path from “judge and be judged” towards “learn and help learn”.
She studies athletes, artists, teachers, parents and students and brings numerous examples of “one hit wonders” and long-term successes. Interestingly, we can have a fixed mindset regarding certain issues and not others. For instance, you may feel that you can improve your asana technique but will “never be a meditator”, or you could believe that it is possible to learn a foreign language, but not to improve your drawing skills.
Dr. Dweck shows that a parent, coach or teacher should choose their words very carefully when they comment on a successful achievement by someone they want to encourage. Rather than saying “You are such a smart boy” or “what a talented girl”, the emphasis should be on applauding the effort made and the strategies used.
She has also developed an online course, called “Brainology” (available in English and Spanish), to help children understand how the human brain works, and how to believe in their ability to improve in whatever area they are prepared to put effort into.
The book ends with a suggestion: each morning, ask yourself: “What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For myself? For the people around me? “. I love this!