photo credit Mimi Lee Printables
I am always on a quest to better myself and one way I try to do that is by reading self-help books. I’m currently reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. It is a self help book that was recommended to me by the principle at my sons middle school.
The premise of the book is that there are two different mindsets, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is where you believe that you are what you are and have the talents that you have. These things are fixed and don’t change. In a fixed mindset success is proving that you are smart or talented. You are always validating yourself and you fear failure. A growth mindset where you believe that you can always grow and change. The talents that you currently have can grow with effort. You are looking for a challenge to help you learn and you don’t fear failure, you see it as a learning experience.
I really like the book and it has left me with lots of ways to change and better myself. But the thing that I keep thinking is that it’s amazing, and not amazing at all, that in all of the self-help books that I read, the main point that they teach people about is always something that we are taught in the church. This is true with Mindset as well.
My stake has a weekday religious class that I attend sometimes. I went to it yesterday and one of the things the lesson was on is how we really reach heaven. We don’t get there by being perfect, we get there by repenting and doing our best. The teacher said, “Satan is all about perfection, while God is all about progression.” This fits exactly into the lesson that Mindset teaches.
People who have a fixed mindset are always feeling like they need to be perfect while people with a growth mindset are happy if they are improving. This is also part of the message of Elder Holland’s last General Conference talk. He said:
First of all, if in the days ahead you not only see limitations in those around you but also find elements in your own life that don’t yet measure up to the messages you have heard this weekend, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up. The gospel, the Church, and these wonderful semiannual gatherings are intended to give hope and inspiration. They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.
Honestly, this happens with pretty much all of the self-help books that I read. I am grateful for these kinds of books though. It is easier for me to learn the lessons from the secular books and then see how they apply in a gospel sense than it is for me to see them in a gospel sense and apply them to my daily life. I’m glad that I know that I can improve and become better, that those traits I lack now are something that I can strive for. And I’m grateful for the many ways that we can learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ.