The reason I think this book is nicely packaged bullshit is because it presents exceptions as rules and then tries to build a theory out of it.
I wish it were as easy as Dr. Dweck describes it, but there are gotchas.
I can agree with the distinction of 'fixed' versus 'growth' mindsets (although... .. how do you measure that?), but that success is guaranteed if you believe and try... Not necessarily.
Ask 9 startup founders out of 10.
Not achieving "success" (failing) is rarely free: it leaves emotional and physical scars..
Repeat it a couple of times and you're either dead or on your way there.
No, success is not guaranteed even if you try many many times times, even if you train a lot and believe a lot.
In fact, the rule is this: No matter how hard you try, you might still lose.
Sorry about that.
And the reason for this is not mindset - the reason is your definition of success.
If you try to win at the wrong game, you will probably lose at it. So pick your game wisely.
Of course, a fixed mindset will only land you some semi-boring job, a family, a couple of kids and a lot of mainstream entertainment.. I guess that's the definition of "failure" these days... But is it ?
By the way, if you want useful advice about how to be successful in life, Bill Gates is a very bad choice. It might be counterintuitive at first, but think about it ...
As a bird, is it smart to fly around with your mouth wide open in order to catch food... because that's what the whale does ?
> Not achieving "success" (failing) is rarely free: it leaves emotional and physical scars.. Repeat it a couple of times and you're either dead or on your way there.
This is where the mindset change matters so importantly. If you view every point of lack of success as failure, of course it will defeat you- but if you instead view it as a learning experience, and you try your best to understand why the failure came, you can build something out of it.
This is a common strategy to gaining skill in- well, anything- but especially in games. Often the difference between someone with innate talent and someone with experience, is that the person with innate talent can keep up in terms of general mechanics- they can think ahead, guess their enemy out, and go faster, just stressing their enemy out.
But they'll still be beaten incredibly quickly by someone with experience, because they don't recognize the patterns that lead to loss. In fact, one can climb the ladder of skill to the highest echelons of Chess, Formula 1, or Starcraft off of simply exploiting other people's lack of knowledge in a specific pattern.
> In fact, the rule is this: No matter how hard you try, you might still lose. Sorry about that.
For sure. But then again, to always lose no matter what, is about as likely as being Bill Gates. And none of us- truly, none of us- know what the future holds for us. Some of this decade's most successful people didn't see it until their late 40s.
Life is a lot more interesting than "settle for average". We haven't even begun to figure it out, that's why you can even still have such crazy outliers as Gates.
I'd like for you to be right, but there are a lot of poor and oppressed people out there. There are a lot of children that die young. There's only one Bill Gates.
Great analogy, because in games this seems obvious. Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes (predominantly) from bad judgement.
> But then again, to always lose no matter what, is about as likely as being Bill Gates.
This sounds very inspiring, but assessing whether that's really true is also difficult. You are assuming that skewness and kurtosis in the marginal distribution of success (with respect to innate ability, effort, and all other factors except "luck") are minimal.
This is true and inspires tremendous fear. It prevents many would-be successes. I suspect far more than enough to offset the would-be failures. We could recapture this lost value with a universal basic income. We're just too busy chasing down all the "lazy" people while simultaneously declaring their uselessness. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. Why are they useless anyway?
In absolute agreement. UBI may unlock extreme growth of efficiency by enabling risk taking without risk of total defeat.
Learning new things makes you a better programmer, always. My first four years, I was a copy/paste programmer. Then I turned 11 and learned algebra. Huge leap forward. Another huge leap forward with trigonometry and calculus. Again when I had access to a library with books that weren't older than me. Another when I finally met other programmers, studied FP and learned half a dozen real languages. Another with statistics, differential equations and linear algebra. And so forth.
The ascent only ever stops if you are employed at a company that has a culture of overwork and no mentoring. But if Gates believed people can't grow, then (true to the headline) he probably made it a self-fulfilling prophesy.
On the other side are the virtuoso's. People who not just through training, but innate ability are at the top of their field.
The rest of us are somewhere in between.
It strikes me as downright ridiculous that there's an infinite ascent to becoming a better programmer, considering that it's trivial to think of examples of people who cannot even master the basics.
I think anecdata in this case doesn't quite cut it.
That said, I very much applaud the sentiment of your message, as I think a lot of people err on the side of thinking that they are innately incapable while diligent practice and learning might get them quite far.
But that doesn't change the, in my opinion, completely sensible observation that some people are just not cut out to be great programmers. Programming is difficult!
From a different perspective - all pro-level athletes got to where they are today with a lot of training. But only a tiny fraction of the global population, if put through the same training regimen, could achieve that pro status.
That's a fixed mindset if there ever was one. He's saying its extremely improbable for someone to go from mediocre to super skilled.
Context: He said this in 1986.
What you are saying is that people can't learn period. Which is not true. 3-4 years is not enough time to master anything, but 10 years might be:
You've set it up as: I achieve SUCCESS and am a winner, or I fail again and again and again at everything I do and I'm a failed startup founder and on my way to death.
I understand that voice, I really do, and it's the voice of perfectionism coming through grandiosity. It's an incredible barrier to success, because your choices are, "I'm going to write THE BEST math paper!! ! !" or "I'm a failure." This keeps you from writing the ones in between that might be crappy and might not be (ask me how I know).
It's much more functional to break tasks down into concrete items without a value judgement. I'm going to learn three chords on the guitar. I am going to accomplish the following tasks with the goal of increasing conversions x%. I will see how these efforts work and adjust accordingly.
These habits don't guarantee success, but they give you the perspective to react proportionately.
Kill the voice of grandiosity & perfectionism, which is disguised as "reasonable thinking" because you & I are so smart and really can do some things faster & more easily than others.
where does Dr. Dweck make that implication anywhere? in fact, her research is more about how the growth mindset gets more exposure to failure, while the fixed mindset tends to avoid failure in the first place, which is just a different type of failure. so in that sense, her work is all about failure, not about "success being guaranteed if you believe and try".
On the flip side of that, fixed mindsets in the context of a "semi-boring job" can lead to a LOT of psychological trauma. I won't go into the details but I will say this. Given the choice, you're better off jumping out of the airplane. Trust me on this.
How do you measure a growth mindset? Well, we could look at Dweck's research with school children, where kids exposed to the concept that the brain is a muscle score markedly better than the control groups. 
Your views on failure suggest you have either forgotten childhood, or have a warped perspective on it: all kids do is fail, over and over, until they get the hang of things. We scrape our knees, our towers of blocks fall down, we can't get the puzzle pieces into the holes and constantly misidentify letters and numbers. To say that you repeat failure a couple of times and 'you're either dead or on your way there' is bleak and also wrong.
What Dweck's research shows is that children who are praised for their efforts fare better than those who are praised on being innately smart. You seem fixated on success being a zero-sum game. Like, whether a startup succeeds or fails. Dweck isn't guaranteeing that with positive thinking, you can achieve anything. It's not so black and white. The idea is that with the proper mindset, people can achieve a whole lot more than society might otherwise make them believe – and for so many people (children especially), that can be a life-changing realization.
I agree. As soon as you stop trying, you've lost.
I know this for a fact because as I become more sceptical/pessimistic over time, my achievements increase. If I was a blind optimist, I would probably fail as soon as reality reared its ugly head.
If someone is really lucky throughout their lives, they will have an optimistic view about the world and the people around them.
Unfortunate people might find a statement like this offensive because they know for a fact (based on their own experiences) that this isn't true - It's almost like saying "It's your fault for being poor; it's all in your head!".
What comes first? - belief or achievement or self-confidence?
You won't achieve something if you don't believe in it. You just won't persevere and will give up or find workarounds.
But if you believe in it and keep failing consistently, your self-confidence will go down and so will your trust in self. It gets to that miserable "I'm no good" belief until one breaks out of that.
Once you achieve something, it will boost your self-confidence and trust in self will rise and your belief is validated. Then your belief will make you try more and achieve more. Sometimes it leads to overconfidence and bouts of overconfidence will break that trust within oneself - and we just need avoid getting into that downward spiral.
Many times "starters" define limits that are just self-imposed limits. People fall into the ugly 'I can't do that' loop without trying. And they have to be forcibly, inconveniently and painfully pushed out of that. This quote from Star Trek sounds so true "stallion has to be broken to reach it's potential"
I'm a pessimist but I don't believe that pessimism motivated achievements can make one happy unless it is a side-effect. Such achievements root from a negative inner rebellion behaviour. And if we aren't truly happy with those achievements, that makes us doubt and kill our own inner beliefs that led to those achievements. I'm not saying we should be a blind-optimist but stay close to reality.
I still don't see myself as successfull but I'm definitely grateful considering I picked up my first job as a frontend developer at the beginning of 2011 and after 3 companies, I'm working for a subsidiary of eBay in Germany since August 2014.
I apologize if telling a bit about myself is off topic but I think being successfull isn't just about the mindset but there are so many other factors. One of the most important ones is the willingness to take risks. I had a very comfortable job (before I joined eBay) but I realized that I won't be able to grow there at some point. A lot of people thought I was stupid because I quit my job. These are the same type of people who refuse to step out of their comfort zones.
In short, people often have no idea why they chose to do what they did. However, when asked, "why did you choose to do that?" they will rarely say, "I don't know" but will instead concoct stories that explain their choices -- explanations that are often wrong.
Piggybacking on SCHiM's comment, and changing "choices" to "beliefs", this is also something you will learn from looking at tribal societies (creation myths, etc).
Now I'm reminded of this clip from the Star Trek TNG episode Who Watches the Watchers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uii5WrmChbE)
Teacher: What did you think about <subject>
Teen: I think it's fun
Teacher: Why do you think it's 'fun', just saying it's 'fun' is not a valid opinion.
Teen: Because it engages my curiosity and I want to learn more about <subject>
Teacher: That's good, you shou...
Later you'll hear the pupil complaining, that such exercises are pointless, because the second clarification of the pupil's opinion is just as circular and empty as the initial declaration of 'fun'. You can play this game to infinity, and you will never get to the point that any words have any real intrinsic value.
But barring all those factors, if you don't make a deliberate choice to change something, the world around you will keep you down.
One of the problems is that usually poor people is a lot less educated. They don't event know the actual value of the knowledge that they lack. So it's quite easy that when they try to "improve" their situation they take ineffective or even harmful steps.
That's why education is so important for a well working society. It will give a more fair start to every one even if the resources that that people have are not fairly distributed. We tend to underestimate the value of our knowledge of the world that offers our cultural background.
That's also why "what you believe shapes what you achieve".
It might guarantee less pain.
Solve the equation and voila. Doing can be negative if your desired Y goes in that direction from your y-intercept. Remember, you can also control which way axes point.
This can be a multivariate function/equation. It can also have multiple dimensions. The important part is that all of it is definable by you.
Said like that the answer becomes obvious: It varies from situation to situation. Some bets are good and some are bad.
Heck, there is even a slide for this.
That's kind of what this article was all about. That you can break through that barrier if you can understand what is shaping your thinking about how the world works.
Do you think it's possible you're conflating scepticism and pessimism with an increased understanding of how the world works? That is, with more experience?
I know I was very optimistic of life what I was in my 20s. Then, in my 30s, that optimism faded. Now, in my 40s, I've come to realize that I'm optimistic again, and I was just naive in my 20s. Perhaps this cycle will repeat or take a new form as I grow older. I'm kind of excited to see what happens.
I am super optimistic about things that I control however.
Point being I can say to you "adopt a growth mindset", you do it, but it doesn't work and life throws you 'a curve ball' again and again. Doesn't mean my hypothesis was wrong, and doesn't mean you didn't follow through properly. We can both be right in this case.
All it means is, we should act as if our actions/thoughts count, but accept it as a fundamental property of the universe that they may not 'bear fruit'.
All we can do is embrace the chaos^
^ as in chaotic systems
Life does not accumulate things (luck, good fortune, bad fortune, karma, any other crap that feeds the story of continuity).
Life is about maximizing your exposure to positive low probability events, or the probability of them, and minimizing your exposure to negative low probability events, or the probability of them.
You're not working hard in work to get a reward, you're working hard to be exposed to more chances of possible rewards.
You're not exercise to avoid bad health, you're doing it to lower the chances of a series of low probability diseases.
I think this is the same thing you were saying. I think realising that life is a series of low probability discreet events, not a continuum that accumulates based on past events is a real life changer.
All you can work on is the process of finding the right events to be exposed to - having feelings about the outcome of those events is irrational and leads to unhappiness.
> To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction
"Bill Gates: No. I think after the first three or four years, it's pretty cast in concrete whether you're a good programmer or not. After a few more years, you may know more about managing large projects and personalities, but after three or four years, it's clear what you're going to be. There's no one at Microsoft who was just kind of mediocre for a couple of years, and then just out of the blue started optimizing everything in sight. I can talk to somebody about a program that he's written and know right away whether he's really a good programmer."
So Does Bill still believe this or is he a hypocrite in hiding ?
So he's not being a "hypocrite," he's just learning. Just because he is famous and has a lot of interviews doesn't mean he isn't allowed to change his mind.
The greatest virtue of the book is that you can’t help but ask yourself things like, “Which areas have I always looked at through a fixed-mindset lens?” and “In what ways am I sending the wrong message to my children about mindset and effort?” Thanks to Dweck’s skillful coaching, you’re almost guaranteed to approach these tough questions with a growth mindset.
Gates became successful back then, not now when he became mellow.
0) Reformed (i.e. Calvinist) theologians made significant efforts to argue their understanding of predestination was not deterministic because humans are moral agents and responsible for their actions. They were aware and quite comfortable that God predestining morally responsible people is a paradox (technically referred to as an antinomy).
1) Reformed theologians also taught the predestined are 'born-again', meaning they are given a new spiritual life that changes that person's perspective and attitudes towards everything. The predestined evidence their salvation by good works.
Here's where the growth mindset would apply. Reformed theologians taught predestination as a motivating belief, rather than a fatalistic one. Grace, or salvation, in Reformed theology doesn't comes through religious observance but comes from faith, which demonstrates itself in how a person lives.
In the Bloody Obvious Position, someone can believe success is 90% innate ability and 10% effort. They might also be an Olympian who realizes that at her level, pretty much everyone is at a innate ability ceiling, and a 10% difference is the difference between a gold medal and a last-place finish. So she practices very hard and does just as well as anyone else.
According to the Controversial Position, this athlete will still do worse than someone who believes success is 80% ability and 20% effort, who will in turn do worse than someone who believes success is 70% ability and 30% effort, all the way down to the person who believes success is 0% ability and 100% effort, who will do best of all and take the gold medal.
It might seem pedantic, but I worry that propagating this loose interpretation will lead to many people believing their positive "growth" attitude, and not years of concentrated practice, is enough to grow.
The "Growth mindset!" safe word part at the end was quite apt.
However, it's possible to get a LOT done when you're not growing. For example in basketball, if you know how to do a play which beats other teams all the time, then running that play can be a great idea. Of course, perhaps another team finally figures out your plays and they become useless. Then you might wish you'd spent some of that time growing and developing more plays.
Like how Gates is successful, and is able to spend more of his time growing and trying different things. Because he doesn't need to spend a lot of his time executing successful plays so he can pay rent.
When you look at things like Japanese martial arts, it's all about learning from someone more experienced and lots of hard work. The limiting factor is your endurance, and the general sentiment is that "if someone learned before me, I can too".
I highly recommend a summary, unless you think you'll benefit from reading twenty examples of the same concept. It's one of the few books that I started but didn't finish this year.
Above is another line, like the one in the title. On one hand, it's obvious because if you focus your attention, for example, on building a computer, of course your energy goes in that direction. On the other hand, if you don't realize your attention (ie, thoughts) is on certain matters, you may be expending energy on that unknowingly. Of course, if you're a generalist and your attention goes everywhere, your energy is following suit.
Or rather, I think... "What we hear affects us, and we hear ourselves.".
This is an extension of the "surround yourself with positive people" thing, in that I believe it's important to be positive, kind, generous, as the language and tone that we use to express we hear constantly and those words, that tone, shapes our thoughts, mood, aspirations.
It's important to be mindful and to be the person you want to be. By doing so, we frequently are that person.
Couldn't agree more with this specific example. But you shouldn't ignore reality either. A man with no legs is not going to win the 100 meters at the Olympics. Understanding where your potential lies is important for deciding where to invest your effort. That doesn't mean he can't improve at all though.
Especially in things like math, there is a popular belief that you need some kind of 'math gene' to be decent at it. There is little evidence that there are math specific genes beyond general learning ability.
[Same genes 'drive maths and reading ability'] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-28211676
Sadly, in a lot of cases this will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy where you will stop trying to improve your math skills because you weren't "made for it".
But that's really more a problem of a false belief that these things are set from birth. A blind belief in 'I can do anything i want despite the situation or environment i am in!' isn't going to help anyone. I would advise the runner with no legs to invest his precious time and resources in something other than trying to win the 100 meters at the Olympics.
For example: a man with no legs can win the 100 meters race in the Paralympics.
But isn't this just semantics? That is, if neither you nor anyone else can convince you that you're capable then, in fact, you are not capable.
Expecting a person with severe learning disabilities that they can go work at a top HFT shop or a paraplegic that they'll be able to beat the world record for a 100 meter dash is the kind of goalpost that is being set for many children that are born disadvantaged. Bill Gates may have been studying what keeps the world's poor the way they are for a long time but there are a lot more factors that keep people down than just simply motivation.
Part of why I haven't started a company yet is out of fear of kind of literally destroying my life and others around me. The sheer amount of work that you put into a company is one thing, and not having the closest people you know be supportive of the work you do puts you into a position where you must either be so secure that failure is not a problem or that you must succeed on a first try.
Reid Hoffman's tips on when you DON'T want to start a company come to mind. Some of those criteria include "if you cannot get another job" or "you will put yourself in harm's way by doing so" (paraphrased, can't find the slides he had). So for the poor, despite having not much to lose in theory, they do have everything to lose in that their lives are all they can give up in the absence of capital or remarkable domain knowledge / skill advantages. Risk tolerance for the poor is actually very low thusly.
Maybe schooling is stuck in a local maximum, because we don't do things like this, because its not socially acceptable to 'experiment with our childrens education' ?
If only! We're camped out on the slopes. A hill climbing algorithm would be a great start.
I'm perfectly aware that some people start with huge disadvantages in life, but whatever your starting point, you can end up much higher. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
Also, why should there be a point? Life is a journey.
But isn't that circular reasoning?
"I am not a math person" -> [discover growth mindeset] -> "Math is fun" -> [weeks/months/years later] "Shit I am still not significantly better at math" -> "I am not a math person"
For any activity there is always better than you, what matters, I think, is where you want to go.
But starting with "I'm not a math person" will close many doors for you.
Do we really choose when we choose or are we just acting a predetermined role? I have noticed people who do well tend to believe the former. But I'm not convinced this belief is necessarily what caused them to do well and somewhat suspicious that it is partially an attempt to frame their achievements in their own mind as the result of "their" free will and goes back to their need to "prove" themselves superior which may well be the cause of much of their success in the first place. I've met more than a few people who have this need very intently and it seems pretty mechanical and not generally the result of meditative conscious choice.
Not to bash the concept. Sometimes the faulty, but useful belief holds more value than a more truthful belief which leaves one powerless. At least in the short term. Long term and on a societal level the side effects of faulty beliefs become much more prominent. For you and I however, here and now, we are almost certainly better off thinking we can do it (imhop). But the question is very deep and certainly a lot more complex than just clicking a switch and deciding to "think" a certain way which to be frank, is a bit of juvenile and superficial way to think about the topic.
But it is an illusion that I am still subject to, and it is useful to believe that I can choose, insofar that anything is useful. If we can't choose then there's really nothing to be said about anything. Isn't it somewhat ironic to comment on someone's behavior while calling free will into question?
Consciousness might just be an illusion as well. But as you point out, these are the conceptual tools we have to work with.
I prefer to think of it like this. People like to think they are making conscious decisions most of the time while in reality most of the time they aren't. Most of the time people are responding to conditioning/stimuli/response like a trained dancing bear or an insect following a pheromone trail.
Still... people have the possibility of having free will. Sometimes it glimmers through a little.. sometimes more, but in order to really have free will people have to step outside of conditioning/stimuli/response and conceive of themselves differently which is a psychological place most people don't enter for long or very often if ever. But the possibility still exist. Again... just a conceptual model that works for me. Not sure there are hard and fast answers in this realm.
How much do people try? Most people don't even try. At all.
Being able to help out your neighbor isn't connected to success in our society. I think a lot of posters in this thread don't realize the destinction between potential and success.
Will this guarantee success and a happy life? Of course not. But it will greatly increase your chances.
Just imagine you are a teamlead and one guy in your team tells you "hey, I have found 2 new ways how not to impelent Feature X. May I work on feature Y and use the knowledge I gained fucking up feature X?"
Or you have a project team and the profect manager tells you "Hey, I found one new way how not to manage a project, how not to deliver on time and how not to motivate people. May I manage your next project and maybe waste an other million dollars?"
In my experience situations like these end badly...
I don't think the point is to say "wow I can get better at anything so I'll take on this big project that's way out of my league". It's more about thinking "wow I can get better at this so I'll ask my manager for tips and maybe a small project in which to grow my skills".
I've read the book twice and its helped me tremendously. I used to say to myself I'm not a maths person but now I say that I can get better if I work on it. I've made more progress than I ever did believing that people are simply born with or without a mind for maths.
Fortunately, yesterday night I was listening it.
Maybe my study will be of note: If you believe headlines, you should read more.
Most entrepreneurs solving ambitious problems look crazy to outsiders. Hence the famous Steve Jobs quote
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
Look at what the Gates, Jobs and Musks of this world have achieved with their 'anything-is-possible' mindsets..
Btw, for those who are interested in this stuff I've created an app to help people develop a growth/positive mindset at http://positivethinking.net
It's a good summary of an essence :)
It seems blindingly obvious to me that ability in most fields is a function of both genes and effort. Genes shape how fast you improve with effort, and where you plateau. Genes shape the curve of the achievement-to-effort graph. Effort determines where you are on that curve. Effort determines how much of your potential you actualize. This dynamic is true in basketball, math, golf, painting, speech-making, guitar playing and virtually every other complicated human endeavor.
Some people need to be told, "You have are naturally gifted in this field, stop being so hard on people who are not as good as you, they are doing the best they can."
Some people need to be told, "You are naturally gifted in this area. You have a responsibility to work extra hard in order to maximize your gifts. If you work your butt off, you have the potential to be truly special."
Some people need to be told, "This stuff might not come as naturally to you. You're going to have to work extra hard to keep up."
Some people need to be told, "Look you have been practicing harder than anyone, and honestly, I just don't think you have the raw talent to be a professional in this field. You can do it for fun, but be realistic about your career choices."
Some people need to be told, "Look you can't say you are bad at painting/writing/music/math/etc. You haven't even tried to learn it. This stuff is not natural for most people, there are books and youtube videos that can show you how to do it. You need to build step-by-step. Practice one technique until it is in mental memory and then add more complexity. Unless you're mozart, you don't just start from day one being able to produce great stuff."
It seems that as a culture, there are mistakes in messaging going both ways. For example, the premise of the "No Child Left Behind" education law was silly. There is in fact a bell curve with regards to natural academic aptitude. For instance, if you are in the bottom ~20% of that curve, it is nearly impossible to learn algebra. ( for some articles from a real teacher who is trying to teach algebra in the field, read: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/algebra-an... and https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/noahpinion... ). Someone in the middle of the bell curve can learn algebra, but if they try to go into a career that involves advanced quantitative or logical skills, they will be competing against those who both have a natural aptitude and an economic incentive to try hard. The person with normal aptitude will likely lose that competition. So it might not be good advice to tell that person to double-down on math, even if they could make themselves better.
On the other hand, I hear a lot of smart friends say stuff like, "I'm just bad at math" or "I'm just bad at painting." In many cases, they never had good teaching, or they never tackled the problem aggressively. They never tried to learn incrementally, by building muscle memory on a simple technique and then adding more complications. They started with the hard stuff, and when it did not work, they just assumed they were bad at it. For people like that, a "growth mindset" can be helpful.
All of this should be pretty darn obvious. I don't really gather what new, credible information Dweck is adding to our understanding of how learning, motivation, and achievement works.
I think it depends on the individual (situation) which mindset causes higher costs.
If something excites or intrigues you, then do it. But don't delude yourself that your personal growth really matters.
It's true, but also irrelevant. Focus on what you can do & experience while you're alive, because who cares what happens once we're dead? The scale of granularity that you use to look at life is as arbitrary as the emotional tenor of it, so why not focus in on a timescale that'll actually be interesting?
It depends. In some ways by choosing what NOT to do, you are choosing what to do and have more time, effort and money to invest in them as a result of being conservative with your resources.
Perhaps the Exclusionist Mindset?
Even if a growth mindset leads you to double the amount of experiences, on a logarithmic scale that is inconsequential.
I’m one of the people who’s not good at math at this point in time.
> so why not focus in on a timescale that'll actually be interesting?
By that logic, it would follow that you should spend all of your money on hookers and blow tonight and shoot yourself come morning. Then the rest of your life will be 100% interesting and enjoyable and the part afterwards is irrelevant.
Edit: I mean the general 'you' not the personal 'you'. Just pointing out that happy growth-minded people don't really believe those quotes or they would live very differently.
Think of Jeff Bezos's regret minimization framework. You want to be able look back on your life from some point many years in the future and say "I lived it the best way that I could". You don't want to look back on your life on your deathbed and think "Man, my whole life, I knew that this day would come and render it all pointless, and now I've proved myself right!" Nor do you want to look back on your life tomorrow and think "Oh shit, this is it!"
I don't see how these statements are mutually exclusive.
> You don't want to look back on your life on your deathbed and think...
These statements are rather contradictory. On one hand you acknowledge that my happiness upon death is irrelevant, on the other I'm supposed to care about my life retrospective moments before death.
But if you live only for yourself, then of course, you won't matter after you die.
Are we all driven by a desire to be remembered and having left our mark on a cosmic scale?
I'd say do your best to leave the place better than you came into it, and don't sweat too much :)
Yes, everything is pointless and we'll eventually burn in the sun. But on the other hand, maybe that's not true. If we live as if there is a point, life will be more fun and more interesting, and that's good enough for me.
How do you trick yourself into believing there is a point to life when you believe there is none and all the evidence, to you, appears to support it?
I went through a similar existential crisis in high school when I became aware of the laws of physics, of thermodynamics, and of cosmology. After all, if we are all just random interactions of sub-atomic particles fated to intertwine in a certain way and then eventually disappear in the heat-death of the universe, what's the point of anything?
And then I turned that logic back on my own thought patterns, which are after all just random firings of neurons that happen to form patterns which the random firings of other neurons interpret as "me". Certain patterns lead to ennui, hopelessness, and the eventual suicide of the organism through chronic depression. Other patterns gratify the other circuits in the brain, leading to a life that would subjectively be described as happy and fulfilling.
I might not actually have a choice in the matter - after all, it's possible that the paths we follow through life were all pre-ordained at the birth of the universe. But I also know that the question is meaningless, because as we established before, there is no actual "I", only random firings of neurons with electrical impulses that happen to make up a pattern that I perceive as "my thoughts". So given the inherent contradiction in my existence - why not choose the belief system that continues to ensure I have a happy existence?
tl;dr: Prove that you don't exist. Then you can do anything and believe anything you want.
So try this: assume there is no point and we are going to burn in the sun. Everything is a waste of time. Now what do you do? Kill yourself? Well, I don't want to, so why should I?
Sit still in one spot and wait for death? I tried that, but I got bored after about 10 minutes so I went and made a sandwich. Then I continued doing what I wanted to do with my time. Which was the same stuff I had been doing before I decided that it was all pointless.
It doesn't bother me at all. Philosophy is great for Saturday nights and the third beer. The rest of the time it's boring and distracting.
But if you think you can steer it, then you can still have the growth mindset. I don't think you need to convince yourself that there's a point in order to have that.
I think if it as, well, I'm on this ride, I'm not hopping off prematurely, which means I'm stuck here for a while, so why not see the interesting places the ride can take me?
Whenever I find myself starting to stress out, it's because I think I _need_ to be somewhere when I'm not, which is a result of being attached to the outcome of some part of the ride. But there's really no point in being attached to an outcome because even that part will be over soon anyways.