As we get older, many of us invest a great deal in being right. When things go wrong, as they inevitably do, we focus on flagellating ourselves, blaming someone else or covering it up. Or we rationalize it by saying others make even more mistakes.
What we do not want to do, most of the time, is learn from the experience.
Professor Dweck, who wrote a book on the subject called “Mindset” (Random House, 2006), proved this point in another study, this one of college students. They were divided into two camps: those who did readings about how intelligence is fixed, and those who learned that intelligence could grow and develop if you worked at it.
The students then took a very tough test on which most did badly. They were given the option of bolstering their self-esteem in two ways: looking at scores and strategies of those who did worse or those who did better.
Those in the fixed mind-set chose to compare themselves with students who had performed worse, as opposed to those Professor Dweck refers to as in “the growth mind-set,” who more frequently chose to learn by looking at those who had performed better.
Read this piece by Alina Tugend.