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  • NegBox 10:31 pm on December 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book, Daniel Pink, ,   

    Mastery is a Mindset 

    This is an excellent piece of the book “Drive” By Dan Pink

    The big a-ha! moment:

    If you believe intelligence is a fixed quantity, then every educational and professional encounter becomes a measure of how much you have.

    If you believe intelligence is something you can increase, then the same encounters become opportunities for growth.

    In one view, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in the other, it’s something you develop.

    Why this matters:

    These two types of thinking trigger contrasting responses to adversity—one of helpless,” the other, “mastery-oriented.”

    The full explanation cited directly from the book:

    Mastery Is a Mindset

    As with so many things in life, the pursuit of mastery is all in our head. At least that’s what Carol Dweck has discovered.

    Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has been studying motivation and achievement in children and young adults for nearly forty years, amassing a body of rigorous empirical research that has made her a superstar in contemporary behavioral science. Dweck’s signature insight is that what people believe shapes what people achieve. Our beliefs about ourselves and the nature of our abilities—what she calls our “self-theories”—determine how we interpret our experiences and can set the boundaries on what we accomplish. Although her research looks mostly at notions of “intelligence,” her findings apply with equal force to most human capabilities. And they yield the first law of mastery: Mastery is a mindset.

    According to Dweck, people can hold two different views of their own intelligence. Those who have an “entity theory” believe that intelligence is just that—an entity. It exists within us, in a finite supply that we cannot increase. Those who subscribe to an “incremental theory” take a different view. They believe that while intelligence may vary slightly from person to person, it is ultimately something that, with effort, we can increase. To analogize to physical qualities, incremental theorists consider intelligence as something like strength. (Want to get stronger and more muscular? Start pumping iron.) Entity theorists view it as something more like height. (Want to get taller? You’re out of luck.)

    If you believe intelligence is a fixed quantity, then every educational and professional encounter becomes a measure of how much you have.

    If you believe intelligence is something you can increase, then the same encounters become opportunities for growth.

    In one view, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in the other, it’s something you develop.

    The two self-theories lead down two very different paths—one that heads toward mastery and one that doesn’t. For instance, consider goals. Dweck says they come in two varieties—performance goals and learning goals. Getting an A in French class is a performance goal. Being able to speak French is a learning goal. “Both goals are entirely normal and pretty much universal,” Dweck says, “and both can fuel achievement.” But only one leads to mastery. In several studies, Dweck found that giving children a performance goal (say, getting a high mark on a test) was effective for relatively straightforward problems but often inhibited children’s ability to apply the concepts to new situations. For example, in one study, Dweck and a colleague asked junior high students to learn a set of scientific principles, giving half of the students a performance goal and half a learning goal. After both groups demonstrated they had grasped the material, researchers asked the students to apply their knowledge to a new set of problems, related but not identical to what they’d just studied. Students with learning goals scored significantly higher on these novel challenges. They also worked longer and tried more solutions. As Dweck writes, “With a learning goal, students don’t have to feel that they’re already good at something in order to hang in and keep trying. After all, their goal is to learn, not to prove they’re smart.”

    Indeed, the two self-theories take very different views of effort. To incremental theorists, exertion is positive. Since incremental theorists believe that ability is malleable, they see working harder as a way to get better. By contrast, says Dweck, “the entity theory . . . is a system that requires a diet of easy successes.” In this schema, if you have to work hard, it means you’re not very good. People therefore choose easy targets that, when hit, affirm their existing abilities but do little to expand them. In a sense, entity theorists want to look like masters without expending the effort to attain mastery.

    Finally, the two types of thinking trigger contrasting responses to adversity—one that Dweck calls “helpless,” the other, “mastery-oriented.” In a study of American fifth- and sixth-graders, Dweck gave students eight conceptual problems they could solve, followed by four they could not (because the questions were too advanced for children that age). Students who subscribed to the idea that brain-power is fixed gave up quickly on the tough problems and blamed their (lack of ) intelligence for their difficulties. Students with a more expansive mindset kept working in spite of the difficulty and deployed far more inventive strategies to find a solution. What did these students blame for their inability to conquer the toughest problems? “The answer, which surprised us, was that they didn’t blame anything,” Dweck says. The young people recognized that setbacks were inevitable on the road to mastery and that they could even be guideposts for the journey.

    My Notes

    Most of the “Drive” book is ok so far.

    This idea, however, is different. This idea is huge. It has huge practical applications from the workplace to the family. I challenge you to go around your house or through your friends and dig up what their belief is regarding intelligence as a fixed attribute or a malleable skill.

    Better yet – I went to my kids and checked their understanding of intelligence to make sure it aligned with mine – this is one concept I was keeping a close eye on already as it is tied to self-esteem – now I know exactly how it works its magic and what it must be shaped like to be beneficial.

     
    • Justin Dupre 5:07 am on December 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      This is a very interesting post on intelligence. Some good insights here especially the “helpless,” the other, “mastery-oriented.” I must dig in to this and find out more about it.

      • Slave Rat 4:08 pm on December 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The book gets better, and more practical, towards the end. This bit of the book struck a chord as it resonated with one of my experiences growing up. I’ll post it up as the next post here.

  • NegBox 2:11 am on June 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book, Eric Berne, ,   

    Games People Play – Eric Berne M.D. 

    For the past five years I’ve taken a picture of the sky at sunset almost every day – to remind me I was here, to remind me I’m alive, in the now, and to remind me to take time to break out of my mental cage see the world as it truly is.

    When I read Games People Play by Eric Berne I felt the author was looking straight at my soul here:

    “The aware person is alive because he knows how he feels, where he is and when it is. He knows that after he dies the trees will still be there, but he will not be there to look at them again, so he wants to see them now with as much poignancy as possible.”

    The book is 46 years old and kick-started an area of psychology called transactional analysis. It is brilliant. It applies to the games people play when engaging your products and offers as much as to the games you play at home with your spouse. Do you know any alcoholics? Check out the game “Alcoholic” and see which role you’re in.

    The book has incredibly good stuff all around – and here is chapter 16, one of the final chapters – it doesn’t describe a game, but rather it describes one of the stages of becoming game-free.

    _____________________

    Chapter Sixteen: Autonomy

    The attainment of autonomy is manifested by the release or recovery of three capacities: awareness, spontaneity and intimacy.

    Awareness. Awareness means the capacity to see a coffeepot and hear the birds sing in one’s own way, and not the way one was taught. It may be assumed on good grounds that seeing and hearing have a different quality for infants than for grownups,1 and that they are more esthetic and less intellectual in the first’ years of life. A little boy sees and hears birds with delight. Then the “good father” comes along and feels he should “share” the experience and help his son “develop.” He says: “That’s a jay, and this is a sparrow.” The moment the little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. He has to see and hear them the way his father wants him to. Father has good reasons on his side, since few people can afford to go through life listening to the birds sing, and the sooner the little boy starts his “education” the better. Maybe he will be an ornithologist when he grows up. A few people, however, can still see and hear in the old way. But most of the members of the human race have lost the capacity to be painters, poets or musicians, and are not left the option of seeing and hearing directly even if they can afford to; they must get it secondhand. The recovery of this ability is called here “awareness.” Physiologically awareness is eidetic perception, allied to eidetic imagery.2 Perhaps there is alsoeidetic perception, at least in certain individuals, in the spheres of taste, smell and kinesthesia, giving us the artists in those fields: chefs, perfumers and dancers, whose eternal problem is to find audiences capable of appreciating their products.

    Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future. A good illustration of possibilities, in American life, is driving to work in the morning in a hurry. The decisive question is: “Where is the mind when the body is here?” and there are three common cases.

    1. The man whose chief preoccupation is being on time is die one who is furthest out. With his body at the wheel of his car, his mind is at the door of his office, and he is oblivious to his immediate surroundings except insofar as they are obstacles to the moment when his soma will catch up with his psyche. This is the Jerk, whose chief concern is how it will look to the boss. If he is late, he will take pains to arrive out of breath. The compliant Child is in command, and his game is “Look How Hard I’ve Tried.” While he is driving, he is almost completely lacking in autonomy, and as a human being he is in essence more dead than alive. It is quite possible that this is the most favorable condition for the development of hypertension or coronary disease.

    2. The Sulk, on the other hand, is not so much concerned with arriving on time as in collecting excuses for being late. Mishaps, badly timed lights and poor driving or stupidity on the part of others fit well into his scheme and are secretly welcomed as contributions to his rebellious Child or righteous Parent game of “Look What They Made Me Do.” He, too, is oblivious to his surroundings except as they subscribe to his game, so that he is only half alive. His body is in his car, but his mind is out searching for blemishes and injustices.

    3. Less common is the “natural driver,” the man to whom driving a car is a congenial science and art. As he makes his way swiftly and skillfully through the traffic, he is at one with his vehicle. He, too, is oblivious of his surroundings except as they offer scope for the craftsmanship which is its own reward, but he is very much aware of himself and the machine which he controls so well, and to that extent he is alive. Such driving is formally an Adult pastime from which his Child and Parent may also derive satisfaction.

    4. The Fourth case is the person who is aware, and who will not hurry because he is living in the present moment with the environment which is here: the sky and the trees as well as the feeling of motion. To hurry is to neglect that environment and to be conscious only of something that is still out of sight down the road, or of mere obstacles, or solely of oneself. A Chinese man started to get into a local subway train, when his Caucasian companion pointed out that they could save twenty minutes by taking an express, which they did. When they got off at Central Park, the Chinese man sat down on a bench, much to his friend’s surprise. “Well,” explained the former, “since we saved twenty minutes, we can afford to sit here that long and enjoy our surroundings.”

    The aware person is alive because he knows how he feels, where he is and when it is. He knows that after he dies the trees will still be there, but he will not be there to look at them again, so he wants to see them now with as much poignancy as possible.

    Spontaneity. Spontaneity means option, the freedom to choose and express one’s feelings from the assortment available (Parent feelings, Adult Feelings and Child feelings). It means liberation, liberation from the compulsion to play games and have only the feelings one was taught to have.

    Intimacy. Intimacy means the spontaneous, game-free candidness of an aware person, the liberation of the eidetically perceptive, uncorrupted Child in all its naivete” living in the here and now. It can be shown experimentally (3) that eidetic perception evokes affection, and that candidness mobilizes positive feelings, so that there is even such a thing as “one-sided intimacy” – a phenomenon well known, although not by that name, to professional seducers, who are able to capture their partners without becoming involved themselves. This they do by encouraging the other person to look at them directly and to talk freely, while the male or Female seducer makes only a well-guarded pretense of reciprocating.

    Because intimacy is essentially a function of the natural Child (although expressed in a matrix of psychological and social complications), it tends to turn out well if not disturbed by the intervention of games. Usually the adaptation to Parental influences is what spoils it, and most unfortunately this is almost a universal occurrence. But before, unless and until they are corrupted, most infants seem to be loving (4) and that is the essential nature of intimacy, as shown experimentally.

    I take a picture of the sky at sunset almost every day – to remind me I was here, to remind me I’m alive and to remind me to take time to break out of my mental cage see the world as it truly is.
     
  • NegBox 9:22 pm on May 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book,   

    All Marketers Are Liars – And I’m Full of Shit 

    My review of “All Marketers are Liars” by Seth Godin in three words: Holy Fucking Crap.

    Shoemoney must be peeking at my playlist or something… http://www.shoemoney.com/2010/05/04/the-greatest-marketing-book-every-written/
    I’ve been wanting to post about this book “All Marketers are Liars” by Seth Godin since right before the Vegas mind wipe I had on May 1st. I’m on my second listen, and I foresee a third and fourth listen.

    It has seriously completely and radically changed the way I look at everything. This book is beyond eye-opening, it’s a freaking masterpiece. Considering I’m nobody, that’s not much of an endorsement – considering I gobble around 50+ full books a year on marketing, business and psychology, this takes another shade.

    The original recommendation came from Ran Aroussi in one of the PPC Bully trainingd, and I filed it on my “nice to get” list. Last month I finally got around to getting the book and bumped into Seth’s book selection at his site… I got Words that Work from Frank Luntz, along with Purple Cow, Permission Marketing and All Marketers are Liars.

    Words that Work is “ok”, Permission Marketing is excellent, Purple Cow is in the back burner and All Marketers Are Liars has entered my hall of fame.

    I used to work with a marketing exec that used to drive me (and everyone else) fucking bananas asking us “what’s the story here” or commenting “I don’t see the story coming through”… Now I get it. Everything has a story… Many stories! I opened the Sky Mall catalog on the plane and started exploring the stories behind each and every product -that little impromptu exercise was so cool I took the catalog with me, telling mysefl the story that I was going to use it for a video post. Don’t wait for it, it’s not going to happen.

    The funniest part is that over the past few months I’ve been consistently saying “Thats my story and I’m sticking to it” after every time I explain myself… I also do it to my entire family, as soon as they explain something, like why they decided to skip a class, or why they need a particular brand of something, I’ll quip “and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” … This really brings the stories we tell ourselves into focus, it’s also very humorous and it’s been working wonders to cut through everyday crap.

    The other significant book I read this month (and I had to read it on freaking paper – so I had to wait to my plane to/from Vegas) is a 30+year classic masterpiece too… Games People Play by Eric Berne – it lays the foundation for Transactional Analysis in psychology for laypeople like me – sort of. Really good.

    Have fun!

     
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