Improving continuously…

The opening piece from this talk caught my attention, this is how it goes –

“I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade “Not Yet.” And I thought that was fantastic, because if you get a failing grade, you think, I’m nothing, I’m nowhere. But if you get the grade “Not Yet”, you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.”

~ Dr. Carol Dweck

Dr. Carol Dweck is a researcher in the field of motivation, and professor of psychology at Stanford. She is best known for her famous book Mindset[1], and her associated work on Growth Mindset. I have mentioned this book a few times in other articles here.

In this short TED talk (~10 mins) she introduces her mindset concept, and how it can be developed in younger kids. Of course, it is not  only for kids. Do watch her talk –


Kaizen (かいぜん) is Japanese word for “change for better”. This Kaizen – ‘Continuous Improvement’ practice has been adapted by the corporate world in the last couple of decades or so. I am not referring to those corporate practices, PDCA. cycles etc. I’m referring to continuous improvement in the personal sphere. More about The Pursuit Of Excellence, an endeavor to improve our own processes, getting better at what we are good at, or getting better at things we are interested in (among other things, it’s baking for me).

Two Mindsets

In her theory about two mindsets, Dr. Dweck mentions these two types – Fixed mindset and Growth mindset. The fixed mindset people believe that the intelligence is static, and have rather deterministic view of the world. On the other hand, the growth mindset people believe that intelligence can be developed, and they have more control on the outcome of any situation through their efforts. If you are familiar with the concept of Locus of Control, here is an interesting research paper discussing Growth mindset and Internal locus of control.

This wonderful illustration by Nigel Holmes captures the essence of Mindset by Dr. Dweck. If you’re curious, please see references below for the book details.

Carol Dweck: Two Mindsets (Illustration:


  1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – The related book Dr. Carol Dweck based on her research. She elaborates on Fixed & Growth mindsets with examples, and suggests how we can  nurture, inculcate growth mindset.
  2. Learners shall inherit – A talk by Eduardo Briceño, and related discussion. He is co-founder of Mindset Works with Dr. Carol Dweck. This article discuses ‘How to get better at the things you care about’.
  3. The Growth Mindset course – An online course (~ 10-12 hours) on Coursera platform to nurture Growth Mindset. Among other things, the course also discusses subtle paradigm shift from fixed to growth on a daily basis. Though it is not a free course, you can audit it (access the learning materiel) without any payment. No, I am not associated with Coursera, I just appreciate the way they are democratizing some high-quality learning. 🙂

Featured Image:

The featured image ‘Green Steps’ used for this article is by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay, and I am using it here with gratitude.



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