I’m-proving vs. Improving.
Chip: It’s great to have you join me on our daily blog, Guy. I’ll ask you a few questions over the next couple days and hopefully we’ll all be wiser for it. Psychologist Carol Dweck says that a fixed mindset focused on proving oneself while a growth mindset is all about improving oneself. Why is her book, “Mindset,” one of your favorite books and how has it made a difference in your life?
Guy: Great to join you, Chip. Carol’s book and philosophy resonate with my view of the world. Or, maybe it actually caused my view of the world. Oddly, I came to realize this because of my approach to sports. I took up ice hockey at age 44. That’s about 40 years too late.
Most people would stop there. But no, I took up surfing at 61. That’s about 57 years too late. In each case, I fell in love with the sport, and it seldom occurred to me that I was too old to take up either sport.
Then, on a more intellectual level, I decided to reinvent myself as a podcaster this past summer. That was about a growth mindset too because I had often been on the interviewee side of the mic, but never on the interviewer side.
Chip: Did Steve Jobs have a growth mindset? What did you learn from him?
Guy: This is not as easy a question as you might think. In the years that I worked for him, I didn’t see him take up hockey or surfing or podcasting. However, the tools that he invented certainly enabled people to adopt and embrace a growth mindset. He was just so good at inventing the future that maybe he personally didn’t need to grow beyond this.
The most important lesson I learned from Steve Jobs is that customers cannot necessarily tell you how to innovate. They can tell you how to incrementally improve something--better, faster, cheaper, but not how to jump to the next curve of innovation.