For many of us, choosing to educate our children at home is thinking outside the box, one reason why we tend to be regarded as odd by those still in the box.
So I was interested to read an article in today’s New York Times, “Unboxed: If You’re Open to Growth, You Tend to Grow” (registration is free or use Bug Me Not). I’m always glad to have my own anecdotal impressions supported by several decades of research. Here’s an excerpt from Janet Rae-Dupree’s article (links are mine, not the Times‘):
Why do some people reach their creative potential in business while other equally talented peers don’t?
After three decades of painstaking research, the Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck believes that the answer to the puzzle lies in how people think about intelligence and talent. Those who believe they were born with all the smarts and gifts they’re ever going to have approach life with what she calls a “fixed mind-set.” Those who believe that their own abilities can expand over time, however, live with a “growth mind-set.”
Guess which ones prove to be most innovative over time.
“Society is obsessed with the idea of talent and genius and people who are ‘naturals’ with innate ability,” says Ms. Dweck, who is known for research that crosses the boundaries of personal, social and developmental psychology.
“People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront their own mistakes and learn from them.”
In this case, nurture wins out over nature just about every time.
While some managers apply these principles every day, too many others instead believe that hiring the best and the brightest from top-flight schools guarantees corporate success.
The problem is that, having been identified as geniuses, the anointed become fearful of falling from grace. “It’s hard to move forward creatively and especially to foster teamwork if each person is trying to look like the biggest star in the constellation,” Ms. Dweck says.
In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she shows how adopting either a fixed or growth attitude toward talent can profoundly affect all aspects of a person’s life, from parenting and romantic relationships to success at school and on the job.
Read the rest of the article here.
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I can’t apologize for not posting much lately. I have lovely new outdoor furniture from Sears (dark brown wicker, resin over metal, with soft cushions that can be left out in the rain that continues to shower us almost daily). We’re trying to get the hay baled in between those showers. The kids have had friends over, and have discovered an old abandoned fort in the woods behind a neighbor’s house. With Laura’s help, the boys are getting their calves halter-broke, to show at the fair. We are eating from the garden, salad and Swiss chard and spinach, usually fresh in salads, and from the freezer — Creamsicles and Fudgesicles. And the saskatoons are early, so there’s berry-picking as well. I’ve been tidying madly, even defrosting the old upright all-freezer in the basement, because once extended family starts arriving on Thursday and we start having 50th wedding anniversary, family reunion, and museum parties and getting ready for going to the fair, my untended house will need all the help it can get just to coast. And for some of the new arrivals, the kids and I are brushing up our German. Unfortunately, my Oma never taught me how to say “think outside the box” auf Deutsch, but I do remember a bit beyond auf Wiedersehen, though my ders, dies, and dases seem to be rather jumbled.
(And danke sehr to my father who sent along Cranford, part one of which I enjoyed highly until much too late last night.)