Every Saturday, I send out this special post with a few ideas I am reading and thinking about. Plus, a question I am meditating on.
If you wish to receive this post – apart from others I write regularly on investing, decision making, behavioral finance – please sign up below.
Book I’m Reading – Mindset
Tolstoy and Darwin were considered as ordinary as children. Iconic photographer Cindy Sherman failed her first photography course. Amitabh Bachchan got rejected by All India Radio. What differentiates them from other people who encountered similar setbacks was their mindset.
In her seminal book, Mindset, Carol Dweck writes –
Those people… were not labeling themselves and throwing up their hands. Even though they felt distressed, they were ready to take the risks, confront the challenges, and keep working on them.
In the book, Dweck elaborates on the two types of mindsets – fixed and growth.
The fixed mindset believes that intellect and talent are carved in stone, and makes people averse to failing and by relation, trying anything new. When they fail, they blame others and compare themselves with people who are worse off.
The growth mindset enables people to cultivate and improve their intelligence and abilities. It makes them engage purposefully and build true expertise. When they fail, they confront their problems and become more determined. This grit is crucial if we want to succeed, and is the most important trait that Tolstoy, Darwin, Sherman, Bachchan, and every person who has succeeded despite setbacks, possesses.
When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world – the world of fixed traits – success is about proving you’re smart and talented. Validating yourself. In the other – the world of changing qualities – it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself… You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.
Articles I’m Reading
Morgan Housel recently wrote about the most important forces shaping our world, and was just amazing, like all of Morgan’s posts –
What are the … Big Things – the great-grandparents – of important topics today that we need to study if we want to understand what’s happening in the world?
Nothing is as influential as World War II has been. But there are a few other Big Things worth paying attention to, because they’re the root influencer of so many other topics.
The three big ones that stick out are demographics, inequality, and access to information.
There are hundreds of forces shaping the world not mentioned here. But I’d argue that many, even most, are derivatives of those three.
It’s a long post, but you must read it not only to understand these three powerful forces but also to appreciate Morgan’s writing and insights.
Is happiness the acceptance or the absence of suffering? Well, that’s the question Zat Rana asks in his latest post and then leaves it to us to answer for ourselves –
All great mysteries get beaten down by logical paradoxes. Reality is not an either/or. It is a synthesis of conflicts. I am everything, yet I am nothing. There are no absolute answers, just like there is no absolute certainty. The only answer is that there are many answers, and the only certainty is that we are swimming in uncertainty. What we have are statements and the different angles that these statements can be seen from.
Power is the acceptance of suffering. Love is the absence of suffering. Power masters the self. Love overcomes the self. Power seeks to impact the material world into the far future. Love is content just to be, just to give, where it is, without concerning itself beyond what is immediate. So: Is happiness the acceptance or the absence of suffering? Well. That’s for you to decide.
Thought I’m Meditating On
Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (US author & physician, 1809-1894)
A Question for You
India recently witnessed something deeply heartening. Our mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, failed to make contact with Vikram lander when the latter landed on the lunar surface. But the entire world applauded Indian space agency ISRO’s effort.
This was a refreshing break from the modern trend of seeing failure as an identity (I’m a failure) rather than an outcome (I failed).
You see, failure is inevitable, but how we handle failure determines what we achieve. And our mindset determines how we handle failure. ISRO has learned from its failure and is already preparing for its next moon mission.
My question to you is – Are you prepared to handle failure in your life? If yes, how? If not, why not?
Enjoy your weekend,