I have to admit, I am gullible. I love to learn from reading books. When I start a new book, I open the first page with an open mind and a willingness to accept that the author has something to teach me. I offer the benefit of the doubt, unless and until, the author gives me a compelling reason to become skeptical. In reviewing the list of books I’ve read, there are more that I enjoyed, agreed with and learned from than there are those that I couldn’t finish or with which I disagreed. So, in this way I suppose I am gullible.
In 2006, Carol Dweck published the book Mindset which introduced mainstream pop psychology to the idea of the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read and has since been quoted and written about by countless authors, bloggers, speakers and teachers. I was thrilled to find out that my daughter’s first grade teacher was teaching the class about the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.
We all know people with fixed mindsets and others with growth mindsets. The reality is that most of us, at times, can demonstrate both. I am guilty of having a fixed mindset sometimes. I get stuck on an idea and can’t let it go. Or sometimes I get stuck on doing something just because it’s how I’ve always done it.
When I was very young, wearing a seatbelt was not yet required by law. I remember when my state first passed this law. It did not gain immediate acceptance. And I remember kids in my high school that refused to wear a seatbelt because it just wasn’t cool. Today, cool has nothing to do with it. Not wearing a seat belt is just plain stupid. Those with a growth mindset were willing to buckle up. The cool kids were stuck. Fortunately, you no longer need a growth mindset to remember to fasten your seatbelt.
Does the willingness to learn from someone with more experience than you in a particular subject require a growth mindset? If so, what does that say about those who are unwilling to learn? Joseph Campbell, in the documentary series, The Power of Myth, said “Those who think they know, don’t know. Those who know they don’t know, know.” I think what he was trying to say is that those with a growth mindset, a willingness to learn, are truly wise. If I am willing to try to understand what someone else has to teach me, does that make me gullible? If gullible means having a growth mindset, I choose gullible.
Understanding the one teaching from a closed mindset perspective might mean there is only one right way. Alternatively, from a growth mindset perspective, oneness means a loving harmony of all things, in non-judgement without exclusions.