Reading: Mindset

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I saw Carol Dweck speak on The School of Life, and loved her presentation on perfectionism and the growth vs. fixed mindset. It totally inspired me, so I immediately read her book. The book is informative, though based on anecdotes that are a bit drawn out, and the ending, which is supposed to be the how-to part, is fairly vague. Still, just recognizing the fixed mindset in myself has helped me immensely in taking on new things and challenging my own thoughts. I’d say see the presentation, then read through the book, skimming when things get repetitive.

As for the ideas, I totally identified with the fixed mindset – wanting to be perfect without effort, just appearing to be wonderful and graceful without work. This has helped me recognize how important effort is – sometimes it is more important than the end result. So instead of wanting to become an amazing, strong, flexible yogi, I just want to learn, to apply myself to each class, to take as much out of it as I can, to stay on my own mat, and grow.

If you consider yourself a perfectionist, if you shy away from new challenges, if you answer to the “shoulds” in you mind too often, I think you’ll be interested in the studies referred to in this book and the presentation. It’s quite fascinating to me!

4 responses to “Reading: Mindset”

  1. Oooh, I’ll have to check out that talk this weekend. Sounds right up my alley!

    Perhaps this sounds odd, but I REALLY recommend sewing as a way of overcoming perfectionism, because I feel like it’s helped me immensely since I’ve started doing it. It’s a great environment for growth, and with every new garment you make, you feel so proud of yourself and really feel like you’re learning and expanding your creativity. I went into sewing expecting to be perfect, like I’ve always expected in most activities I’ve done, and quickly learned perfection doesn’t really exist. One, even the best seamstresses screw up from time to time. It’s really not the mistakes that matter; it’s how you handle them. Two, I’ve learned that the imperfections are part of what make the garment unique and special. Three, instead of wanting to immediately sew something super complicated and be THE BEST EVER, sewing actually makes you want to start at the “bottom rung” and see yourself get better over time. Also, it’s really taught me not to focus on just the end product, but to try to enjoy the process and the little moments that go into the end product. I feel like not being able to enjoy the process because you’re so focused on a perfect outcome is an issue a lot of perfectionists struggle with.

    Speaking of sewing…have you given any more thought to wanting to alter some of the clothes you’ve found thrifting, or to sewing clothes for yourself? I’m still totally up for a little sewing walk-through/hang-out whenever you want!

    1. I hadn’t thought of sewing that way, very interesting! I used to sew a ton – clothes for myself and friends, from patterns or off the cuff, pillows, quilts, you name it. I just haven’t done much of it lately, and it’s really just a matter of getting myself to the fabric store to be reinspired. 🙂

      1. You should also look into the new indie pattern companies that have been popping up in the last few years, because I GUARANTEE you will be inspired by the patterns, and will want to head straight to your machine! Here are some to check out: Deer & Doe, Sewaholic, Megan Nielsen, Victory Patterns, By Hand London, Colette, and Grainline.

      2. Oooh, and I forgot Papercut Patterns!

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