Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset vs Fixed mindset and mentorability

Maria Popova is of course the best to summarise Carol Dweck’s Fixed vs Growth Mindset in her blog, Brain Pickings:

At the heart of what makes the “growth mindset” so winsome, Dweck found, is that it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval.

This idea, of course, isn’t new — if anything, it’s the fodder of self-help books and vacant “You can do anything!” platitudes. What makes Dweck’s work different, however, is that it is rooted in rigorous research on how the mind — especially the developing mind — works. 

What it all comes down to is that a mindset is an interpretative process that tells us what is going on around us. In the fixed mindset, that process is scored by an internal monologue of constant judging and evaluation, using every piece of information as evidence either for or against such assessments as whether you’re a good person, whether your partner is selfish, or whether you are better than the person next to you. In a growth mindset, on the other hand, the internal monologue is not one of judgment but one of voracious appetite for learning, constantly seeking out the kind of input that you can metabolize into learning and constructive action.


Carol Dweck in action here at TED (The Power of Believing You Can Improve, or The Power of Yet):

This reminded me of this article: Are you mentorable? Here are the 5 characteristics of a good mentee:

  1. You understand the value of their time.
  2. You’re clear about what you’re looking for from a mentor.
  3. You can accept input, advice and — sometimes — criticism.
  4. For the lifespan of your relationship, you keep asking, “Am I a good mentee?”
  5. You’re open to whatever you can learn from your mentor.

The key to mentorability is an open and reciprocal partnership between mentor and mentee. Think of it as being on a long car ride together:

“The mentee is the driver, and the mentor is the copilot, helping them get to their destination.”

Rings so true and I’m obviously passionate about the topic given my involvement with SheSaysSG and the Who’s Your Momma mentorship programme.