Many preconceived notions and misconceptions often create a barrier to attaining personal success. Here are some frequently unchallenged misconceptions: “Talent is innate and needs to be discovered”, “You either have talent or you don't” and “Just a few lucky ones have it and it only counts if you’re on top!” The growth mindsets captured by popular culture show us that our own fears and vulnerabilities set us up for social comparisons and only by challenging these myths and putting in the hard work, can one harness their personal power.
On this episode, global keynote speaker, facilitator, and guide supporting leaders developing growth mindset cultures, Eduardo Briceño, discusses how mindsets work, why stress is a trigger for a fixed mindset and ways to promote a growth mindset and continuous improvement in ourselves, our children, and our colleagues. Well-cultivated growth mindsets, particularly in the area of challenge, is a mark of strong executive function crucial for personal growth, performance, and resilience.
About Eduardo Briceño
Eduardo Briceño is a global keynote speaker, facilitator, and guide supporting leaders developing growth mindset cultures. Prior to that he was the CEO of Mindset Works, the pioneer in growth mindset development services, which he cofounded in 2007 with Stanford professor Carol Dweck and others, and which he led for over a decade. Before that he was a technology investor with Credit Suisse’s venture capital arm and served on several for-profit and non-profit boards.
Eduardo’s TED talks have been viewed by millions. He is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow, a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network, and an inductee in the Happiness Hall of Fame.
Eduardo grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MBA and M.A. in education from Stanford University. Most importantly, he continues to enjoy lifelong learning every day.
About Host, Sucheta Kamath
Sucheta Kamath, is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed ExQ's personalized digital learning curriculum/tool that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence.
Sucheta Kamath: Welcome back to Full PreFrontal exposing the mysteries of executive function. It's such a pleasure to be back with you all. You know, I've been thinking as in preparation for this particular episode, which you're going to love that, you know, America's Got Talent, talent patrol tonight, talent of tomorrow, and are you smarter than the than a fifth grader? These are some of the popular TV shows, in fact, and the fact that all of them have words such as talent, and smart, it pretty much summarizes what the popular culture thinks and says about our beliefs. You know, here are some examples. Talent is innate, and needs to be discovered. You either have it or you do not, and a very few habit, and it only counts if you reach the top. So it's really interesting to me that, are these beliefs really true? Or do we need to do some tweaking and adjusting, and since on this podcast, we talk about executive function, creating a roadmap for personal success, finding ways to handle mistakes, readjust attitudes, behaviors, actions, and thinking and emotions so that you can navigate and pursue goals that are important, it is really important for all of us to discover the roadblocks so that we can achieve our optimal potential. So here we go. Today, we have a very special guest, who is going to talk about mindset, and it is going to set the record straight again. Because we have had David Yeager, who was a wonderful guest. So this will be an additional boost for our understanding and deepening this relationship that we need to have towards our own belief system. So today, we have Eduardo Briceño, who is a global keynote speaker, facilitator, and guide, supporting leaders developing growth mindset cultures. Prior to that he was the CEO of Mindset Works, the pioneer in growth mindset development services, which he co-founded in 2007, with Stanford, Professor Carol Dweck, and others, and which he led for over a decade. Before that he was a technology investor with Credit Suisse is a venture capital arm and served on several for profit and nonprofit boards. He has amazing TED Talks. And we will link that in our show notes. So you heard me say talks, not a talk. And they have been seen and heard more than million times. He is from Caracas, Venezuela, and he holds a bachelor's degree in economics and engineering from University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MBA and MA in education from Stanford. So welcome, Eduardo, how are you today?
Eduardo Briceño: I'm doing great. How are you doing?
Sucheta Kamath: Fantastic. And thank you for being here with us. And as you know, I'm going to barrage you with some questions. But before we start about talking about growth mindset, can you help define growth mindset and tell us why does it matter?
Eduardo Briceño: Sure. So growth mindset is something has become very popular over the last decade, when but also, there's a bit of confusion around it. When we ask people what a growth mindset is. Often people say it's working hard, or it's persevering. And a growth mindset is not a behavior like that. A growth mindset is a perspective or a belief about the nature of human beings, specifically, is when we see ourselves and others as able to change when we see our abilities or qualities as malleable, rather than as fixed. Like you, you know, as you started this episode, you talked about examples of ways to view human talent and ability as fixes something that we either have or not or don't have. That's what we call a fixed mindset. And the opposite, which is we can always get better is is a growth mindset. And it's important because it affects how we perceive the world, how we perceive ourselves, how we perceive other people, and therefore how we behave. And so when we're in a growth mindset, which was we're much more effective learners, we achieve higher performance, and we also have more positive relationships with the people around around us, and we can collaborate better with them.
Sucheta Kamath: So you see, this is such an interesting thing. And maybe you can share some examples, but I'll kick it off by saying So I think I have I have a growth mindset in some areas of my life. And there's one area of my life that I don't think I have a growth mindset. And that's learning to dance. So I feel like I have two left feet. So is it possible to have a growth mindset in some areas and not have any hope for yourself in others?
Eduardo Briceño: Absolutely. And and I love the question because another kind of misunderstanding that we often hear in people who are excited about growth mindset is they might define themselves, I am a growth mindset person. And and sometimes they might even say, This person is a fixed mindset person. But it's not. This is not binary, like somebody is growth mindset. Another is fixed mindset. We're all a mix. And also mindsets are fluid. So sometimes we can might be in a fixed mindset more about something sometimes more in a growth mindset, depending on our situation that people around us. So yes, we can see a particular ability like being a podcast host as something that you can always get better at, and that you might work out better, you might observe other podcast hosts, you might try different strategies in each episode, and kind of work to get better over time. And at the same time, you might see, you know, your ability to dance is something that is fixed, you can get better at. And if you feel like that, if you feel like you, you you can't get better at dancing, then you're not going to try to get better at dancing, you're not going to do anything to get better at dancing, even if you want it to get better at dancing, or there's something that you value, right. And because you don't try, then you won't get better and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. And that's what a fixed mindset does is it creates self fulfilling prophecies, because we don't do what we need to do in order to get better. Now, the opposite it if you did believe that you could get better at dancing, it doesn't mean that you're going to go and try to get better at dancing, because you might not care about that. So a growth mindset is necessary to do the behaviors and to get better, but it's not sufficient, we also need to value it and see a purpose around it, that we also need to know effective strategies to to work at it. And ideally, we need to be in a community that also is in a growth mindset and supporting one another to get better.
Sucheta Kamath: That is such a wonderful way to kind of help people differentiate the these minor nuances. Because I guess, I think as you said, before, we started talking that in 2007, nobody had heard growth mindset when used to go to conferences, and now it feels ubiquitous. But what I feel, I'm also getting a sense that people are getting it wrong, because they are thinking about growth mindset in a fixed way, is an irony. And they also use these terms almost to describe not the way yours the human condition, but attitude. So can you tell tell us a little bit about what growth mindset is not?
Eduardo Briceño: Yeah. So growth mindset is not a silver bullet. Sometimes we get so excited about growth mindset, then we think, Okay, we just need a growth mindset. And if we just have a growth mindset, then everything else will be fine. And a growth mindset is really powerful. Like we you know, our work is devoted to growth mindset and learning because it is so powerful. But it is not a silver bullet. It is growth mindset is the beginning of learning, not the end of learning. Growth Mindset is what enables us to ask ourselves the question of what can I get better at what can I try to get better at that? Who might I ask for help and start the process of improvement and discovery and innovation. So that's that's one thing that a growth mindset is not a growth mindset. It's also not a behavior is a belief about the nature of human abilities, and qualities. And in that belief is necessary, but not sufficient in order for us to grow the most that we can.
Sucheta Kamath: So as you were speaking, what occurred to me that that growth mindset is a precursor to pursuing curiosity, you know, because I think it can allow and facilitate you to take the chance on exploring something that may generate some negative emotions or fear or some, you know, hesitation. But I also love what you said, it's the beginning, not the end. So let's get deeper into this idea. So couple of things come to mind that growth mindset and fixed mindsets, it sounds to me like this is a new way that people are describing characters characteristics of people, right. So what kind of what factors influence growth mindset? Is it like the temperament some people just seem to have that you know, go with the flow and just come on try it kind of attitude. So are there some factors that influence developing these and are they there definitely sounds like you can cultivate them, but are more people prone to having a growth mindset then not?
Eduardo Briceño: Well, one thing that we know is that a growth mindset is very largely, if not all developed. So a growth mindset and a fixed mindset are both beliefs. And we develop our beliefs about ourselves and others from our observations of the world and of the people around us. So for example, there's a set of research studies that looked at little kids that, you know, 1, 2, 3-year olds, and it looked at how their parents interacted with those kids in their normal natural setting up their homes. And they, the researchers categorized the way that the parents spoke with a kids between what's called kind of person praise or fixed mindset base, where they're labeling the kid as very smart and talented, similar to the same types of statements that you started this podcast with, right? So if a kid did something well, or they'll say, Oh, my God, you know, they're so smart. And so that's, that's what we call person praise. And then the other would be processed praise, or process discussion or commentary, where the parents are commenting on the kids behaviors and their choices and the decisions that they make, and what they do what they have control over. And so then they went back five years later, and assess the children's mindset. And those who had heard more kind of process praise and process commentary, were more in a growth mindset, those who had been labeled as smart or talented, were more in a fixed mindset. And then two years after that, that those differences were shown in in school performance, that the kids in that growth mindset were having higher success in school, that those in a fixed mindset. So that's an example of a set of research studies that shows that the environment, you know, first mindset starts really from a very young age. You know, in a young age, we're mostly interacting with our parents, how we how our parents treat us and and, and their communication with us affects our mindset to begin with. There's other research studies that show that how parents view failure affects the children's mindsets a lot. If parents see failure, that is to the boys avoided because it's debilitating, then they're going to, they're going to be uncomfortable if their kids are not getting straight A's or being the best person in the team, right. So if if a child is taking a challenging subject, or is taking an activity where they're struggling, the parent might encourage the child to do a different activity where they can excel and get the A or B the best one. Or if they make a mistake at home, they might get anxious. So in those situations, the child has to be to develop more of a fixed mindset. Versus if we see failure as something, they say pantsing something that we can learn from something that is a result of trying something that we don't know how to do, we're not going to do it perfectly. So we're going to make mistakes, we're going to learn from those mistakes, that's going to make us stronger, better. If the parents see failure that way, then children tend to develop more of a growth mindset. And so this is from young people. But there's a lot of other research that also shows that mindsets are malleable in mid age, and even in late later in life. And they're most vulnerable, the mindsets are most vulnerable, for good and for bad when we are in periods of transition. So for example, wow, if we're starting a job, right, we're gonna or we're joining a new team, we are going to be observing that new environment and thinking, what do people here believe? You know, what kinds of how do they behave? Who do I need to be to be successful here? So that's when our mindsets can work can be shifted more toward a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, depending on that new environment that we're joining on what onboarding processes are in place.
Sucheta Kamath: You know, as you were speaking, one of the things that I really took away from the the readings that have done and watching your TED talks as well as Carol Dweck 's work that, that as you said, you know, it kind of proves the point of nature versus nurture, debate and nurturing having such a powerful impact. And that particular study that you were talking about that parenting and using the words that actually words of encouragement so the words carry so much power of enabling or completely destroying someone's belief system. And the second thing I think I was wondering if you can maybe elaborate on his or rather the connection between those parents who tend to use smart to describe abilities and and not really pick up on the distinction between effort versus somebody his natural inclination to do well. Does that reflect a poor growth mindset or like lack of growth mindset and then educators you know, this to me applies so much to educators them selves. When they see a classroom and they are teaching, we all feel successful or ineffective, depending on how people learn from us. And so if you have group of students who are really doing well, because of your teaching or with your teaching, and then those who are not doing well become a cognitive dissonance, how do I solve this conflict within me that I am a good teacher, but these kids are not learning. So does that invoke some sense of fear and lead to fixed mindsets about these children not able to change their ways?
Eduardo Briceño: Great. Yeah. So a couple of comments. First, I do want to point out that, in that study that I that I mentioned, all parents were trying to be encouraging to their kids, right. So when they, when they tell their child, you're so smart, they're trying to be encouraging, they're trying to be positive, and they're doing it with their best intentions, to try to try to increase the kids confidence, they, they, I think a lot of the thinking tends to be, if I tell my child that they're smart, they're going to be confident, and therefore they're going to thrive in life. But what the research actually shows is that they might feel really good about themselves. In that moment, when they hear I'm so smart, and this person thinks I'm smart, that's great, that makes me feel good. But the deeper lesson that they're learning, is that the reason people succeed or not, is because of whether they have this thing called intelligence or not. And at that moment, they might feel that they have it, if they really believe the parent, and they believe that they're right. But then when they incur something challenging later, they then conclude, okay, I must not be smart enough for this, right. So I don't have the intelligence needed for middle school or for high school or for this job, or for this paper, whatever it is. And so therefore, I'm, I'm going to not do this, I'm going to try to do something else. So they tend to give up more and have less resilience and perseverance. to your second question about when, you know, when those apparent, having more kind of communicating more labels about kids or teachers, does that indicate a fixed mindset on the parents side? And it can, you know, I think that it's, it's a combination of things that lead us to communicate in the way we do to think in the way we do and growth mindset is a part of that. But often, we are more kind of hazy about what we believe, abilities, and how we behave, what our habits are. And there's dissonance there, there's, there's not a lot of coherence. So by reflecting on our mindset, trying to uncover more of our fixed mindsets about ourselves and about other people, then we tend to, to be able to build more coherence. And, and so, to your point about, for example, teachers, sometimes, when teachers learn about growth mindset and fixed mindset, they might say, Oh, this student has a growth mindset. That's why they're doing so well in my class, because they're persevering. And when they're encouraging when they're encountering a problem, they're trying to figure it out, they're asking for help. This student is a fixed mindset student, and that's why I can't teach them. And then so that's problematic, because then they're giving up on the child, oh, this is why this childcare succeed because they have a fixed mindset. Versus, okay, this child might be thinking about ability to fix what can I do as a teacher to help them shift their mindset and to learn effective strategies and for me to grow in my instructional strategies in my relationship with the child, my ability to influence them. And so we can all reflect on what our beliefs are, and what our practices are, and how we can get better at achieving our goals. And, and nobody is perfect, nobody is, you know, we can all continue to improve. So if we're parents or teachers, whether we're, you know, thriving and doing something that we is meeting our goals, we can always continue to get better. Or if we're struggling, or solver kids are not succeeding, we can also, you know, figure out ways to get better so we can help them succeed more.
Sucheta Kamath: You know, and one of the things on this podcast, we talk a lot about executive function, and which is one's ability to manage one's thoughts, emotions, actions in order to achieve goals that are designed by self for self, with the future self in mind. And as you said, one of the powerful, impactful component that you're describing is this capacity to observe your own attitudes and behaviors and that requires quite the polished metacognitive abilities, right, the executive function abilities, where you kind of separate yourself from self turn around and take a look at self and make observations, make a commentary and deduce the things that are worthy of changing and give attention to them. I find that a lot of people struggle with that. One, they find this self observation quite painful. So we tend to be aversive. And too, sometimes they engage in protective habits of now, it's not a big deal or, you know, not. Maybe I'm overthinking or maybe going to the other side and self blame. So do you have any thoughts about how to effectively make observations about your fixed and growth mindsets, and kind of have this third person perspective on self and self compassion as you embark upon addressing your fixed mindset?
Eduardo Briceño: Sure, so for me, learning, an effective way to learn about myself, I have found is to be to solicit feedback, because I do that very often, I do that very broadly. Because then I learn how I'm coming across and what other people are perceiving that I might not perceive otherwise. So soliciting feedback frequently, is, for me the most powerful way to uncover opportunities for improvement. And then when those opportunities for improvement are uncovered, then we can think about, Do I believe that I can get better at this right? And so that that would tell me am I in a growth mindset in a fixed mindset about this? And regardless of the answer, if, say, if we're in a fixed mindset, one effective way to foster growth mindset is to think about how could I get better? What strategies could I use to improve in this particular ability. And so I could read books about that, or listen to podcasts, or do other research on what experts on whatever ability it is creativity, or whatever else, say one can do in order to get better at that. So that's one way. Another way to become more aware of our growth places and fixed mindsets, would be to think about what we value in people or in ourselves, or what, what abilities we think would be helpful for us to thrive in work or in life. And then think about are these things things that I believe are malleable, or, or fixed, like for example, if I value kindness, then I can ask myself is kindness something that I think people have or not, or is kind of something that can be developed? And do I believe that I can continue to be more kind and learn how to be more kind, or creativity or leadership or anything else. And then the goal eventually, ideally, is to be able to catch ourselves in real time, when we're in a fixed mindset. So when when we are doing going about our everyday life and work, and we get into believing that we are others can improve, when we can catch yourself have that belief and realize how it's affecting us, that's when we can change our self talk, change our, our, our thinking as a result of that, and then change our results as a result of that.
Sucheta Kamath: Such a great point, Eduardo, I think this this idea of seeking help, which is a balance between courage, and optimism, and and also kind of understanding that they're experts and like in life, we are always going to meet experts and experts have an advantage of becoming mentors to us. And so to that requires to self accept that maybe I'm not good at it. So I just love that I am working on one skill and with a great growth mindset, which is patience. And unfortunately, the feedback keeps coming negatively. So really suffering right now. So one particular area that you talk a lot about is learning zone. So what is a learning habit you use in your daily life and your work?
Eduardo Briceño: Yeah, my the the habit that I most treasured in my life period is my morning habit. So that the first thing that I do every morning after I wake up, I do several things. And those are the most important things for me as a habit, because I always everyday have the same cue which is waking up. And at that point, I haven't been distracted by the outside world like email or news or anything else. So I start the firt the very first thing I do is gratitude, you know for life, health, love and peace. But then I do several things. But when I'm about to start my day, I open up a document and I remind myself a few things and identify what my goals are for the day. But one of the things that I do then is I remind myself what I'm working to improve and so that that ensures that every day I am working on something right and and if I don't remind myself every morning of what that is I'm not going to be as consciously as frequently, deliberately working on it. And so that is, in terms of a habit, the habit that I consider leads the most me to productive learning and improvement. You mentioned that the learning zone, that what we mean by the Learning Zone is that often in work and life, we work, some of us kind of have this sense that in order to get better, and to improve, we just have to work hard. And that is a little too simplistic because there really is two different types of hard work. One is hard work that we most often most of us are using, which is hard work to perform and execute, working hard to get things done as best as we can try to minimize mistakes. There's what we call the performance zone. And it is not a great way to improve what we are proficient at something. In order to improve, we need a different type of effort, which is effort to try to do things that we are have not mastered yet things that we haven't learned before, and is going to the unknown, doing things that may or may not work. And that's what we call the Learning Zone. And so what I encourage people to do, and I have a 10 minute TED talk on that you mentioned is think about how we are engaging in the Learning Zone on a daily basis as individuals as teams and disruptors in our organizations, in order to foster continuous improvement and innovation. Because just working to perform and execute, trying to minimize mistakes, leads to stagnation.
Sucheta Kamath: You know, and when I heard you present on this as well, an hour long talk, which was very informative, and such a great framework to think about that distinctly. I think, when we are charged to accomplish goals, which is very important way of being productive, it almost becomes about the end product and never about the process. And so when you think about the learning zone, what I love about that is the idea is the path to get there. And the path can be made more richer, more rewarding, and more meaningful. And that is living life in a way. And all these things, by the way exist in like mindfulness culture, or, you know, our spiritual and religious texts. And wise people talk about this, and then no, we need some research to kind of back it up to go into our human qualities, right. And so I really appreciate that idea of learning zone. But can you also now that we think about learning and performance zones, let's talk about mistakes, you also have paid a lot of attention, or in your conversations about mindset you talk about not all mistakes are productive. And and there are some types of mistakes that are worthy champions of propelling us towards growth, growth, personal growth, while the others may just be stagnating us. So can you talk a little bit about the nature of mistakes?
Eduardo Briceño: And first, to your point, I'll just highlight what you said, which is that the Learning Zone not only leads to higher performance and better goals, but also to greater fulfillment and fun and just more joy along the way. So it makes life better. And it also allows us to perform higher in the medium term and long term. So I love what you said about that. In terms of mistakes, mistakes are really important to learn. And, you know, there's there's a great podcast episode about learning and mistakes. It is Episode Seven, of the Andrew Huberman lab podcast I highly recommend. Yes. And what he says there, he's a neuroscientist is that once we are past our mid 20s, mistakes are pretty much the only way that we can drive our own neuroplasticity, our own learning. That's how important mistakes are. Because the way that the brain changes is by making a prediction. And then once that prediction doesn't come true, then that that that starts making the brain able to change yourself to rewire itself. And what we do after that, to figure it out, and to practice and to repeat, that's when the brain actually changes. But so so mistakes are super, super important. But at the same time, you know, when we're in our work or in school, like, for example, a teacher might might want to foster a growth mindset culture in their classroom, and say, mistakes are great here. We want to make mistakes. And then there's a test. And a child doesn't make any mistakes in the test and does really well. And another child makes mistakes and attack they don't do very well. The teacher might praise the child did really well say Congratulations, you made very few mistakes. And that's that's confusing because the kid said her the teacher pay mistakes are great Wouldn't make mistakes here. But then the teacher got happy when that kid didn't make any mistakes. So then what does the teacher actually think about mistakes? Or what do we actually want to do here. So it's really helpful to differentiate when we want to try to minimize mistakes, which is the performance zone that's like the test. And when we want to try things that we haven't done before, challenge ourself thinks that we are going to lead to mistakes, which is the learning zone. And that's what we want to be doing most of the time in school. And so that the mistakes that we make in the performance zone when the stakes are high, we call high stakes mistakes. And it's reasonable to say, we're gonna try to minimize high stakes mistakes, like if I work in a nuclear plant, and I'm in charge and safety, I don't want to be taking risks and experimenting with things that might cause an explosion, right, that's a that's a high stakes mistake. That's okay, we're going to try to minimize and, versus a stretch mistake, which comes from stretching ourselves and trying things that may or may not work. That's something that we absolutely want to do in low stakes situations, we want to make sure that the consequence of mistakes is not very high. So when we are in workplaces, for example, we want to be clear about how we want people to experiment and to take risks, and to encourage them and to understand that some of those risks are going to work out and some will not. There's also the aha moment mistakes, which is when we are just going about our work or our life, and we do something, but then it has different consequences. Or there's there's something that is surface a surprise that we makes us realize, wow, you know, I hadn't realized this before, what I did wasn't the right thing to do. And now that is surfacing. And so that's super valuable to observe and to learn from those aha moment mistakes, but they're not things that we can practically work on. They're more like things that surprised us. And there's the there's the sloppy mistakes, which is things that we know better, we shouldn't have made that mistake, we will, you know, so is ideally something that is not very valuable. And we don't we try to avoid also. But when they happen, all of these mistakes are opportunities to learn and in the sloppy mistakes. Often when we reflect on why did I do this, it often comes to like an issue of paying attention and minimizing distractions, that's often something that leads to sloppy mistakes. So what we want to do, proactively is try to foster threats mistakes, by working on things that we haven't mastered yet.
Sucheta Kamath: So are you saying the opportunity for learning is least in sloppy mistakes?
Eduardo Briceño: It is there's always opportunity for learning in any mistake. But yeah, in sloppy mistakes, we already know something. And we're just being sloppy. Yes. So it's it's less learning that comes from it. But there's always valuable learning that comes from because,
Sucheta Kamath: Yeah, because I see that a sloppy mistake is that carelessness. So there's intention, but there's no self supervision. So you have mastered the skill, but you're not careful or focus. So it really, if you are aware of your awareness, then you're likely to prevent that mistake. And I'll give you a great example of that. We, I parked my car in my garage, and we have that kitchen door to get in. And it was locked. So my mom lives with us. And so the door was locked for safety reasons, assuming that I had the key. And I had a bunch of keys, which had six keys. And you know, it's been Christmas break, and I've been away and not come through the garage. And so I had to call her to come down and open the door. And when my husband came in, I said, I don't have keys to the house. And he says you don't. And then he took my bunch of keys and took the right key, open the lock and showed me and I said I do have keys. So I think just simply not using this kitchen door. Because for the holidays, we had not locked it. I just lost little memory of that or like was not paying attention. So I definitely see your point of it was a little sloppy mistake, primarily because it got me irritated my patients, I needed to work on it. But it had it required my mom to come down who has a little bit of a balance issue. And so just kind of gives me a perspective that when we are thinking about performance, we are so pressurized to be optimal, but in the haste of it all, we may be mistakes that are not even good teachers, but the angst and pain that we are causing to ourselves can really delay our goal attainment and make us less productive, right.
Eduardo Briceño: Yeah, I would I agree. I would also add first like we're not machines. So our brain can't be conscious of everything. You know, we need way to focus on what we're doing. That's what's most helpful, I think for performance and most things and and so we might make mistakes on the periphery, right? And that's fine. I think, you know, I do a lot of those mistakes that like you the one that you just described, and what I, they're often not very consequential. And so when I try to do is I try to have those mistakes bring joy to my life, I try to laugh, add humor to it, right? Yeah. And so my wife, and I laugh when those things happened. And we both do those types of mistakes, and actually keep a blog with just those mistakes. It's called Joy of mistakes, calm, and I share with my family and my friends, because it brings joy, you know, they're things like, I just spilled a smoothie all over myself, or I lost my car keys, and they were outside for two days, and then somebody found them in the mailbox or, and I think that those things are things that we can laugh at, if they didn't hurt anybody, and they bring joy to my life.
Sucheta Kamath: Oh, I love that choice of mistakes. And, and I think you also are illustrating this incredible resilience in your own, you're living your principles of a growth mindset. I love that. So let's talk about another part of your work is taking the discount these concepts related to growth in fixed mindsets and applying it to leadership world. So how can we use this knowledge to influence our world influence others and influence our environment? So can me having growth mindset automatically make others have growth mindset? Or can I demonstrate my growth mindset and invite people to join me? In becoming that way? Is there any connection there?
Eduardo Briceño: Well, most of my work now is with leaders of large organizations, I do lots of keynotes and workshops with leaders. And the three things that I most encourage leaders to think about to foster a growth mindset culture in their organizations, because it doesn't follow automatically that if you tend to be more in a growth mindset, then you're necessarily doing the things that are going to help others get in that way. And with leaders, in particular, a couple of things that I find is that when we get promoted to be a manager, or senior leader, we sometimes feel like we are supposed to have all the answers right to know, and, and we might be in a growth mindset about ourselves, and still continue to read a lot and listen to podcasts and experiment and reflect and ask for feedback. But we might do all those things, in private, like at our home office, when other people are not watching us. And and the problem is, even if we are saying that learning is important. If other people are not seeing us learn ourselves and continue to work on ourselves, our actions are going to speak louder than our words. And so they're going to emulate our behaviors, the behaviors they're seeing. So to being a know it, all right, so it's having all the answers being sure of ourselves. And so three things that for leaders to think about, first, think about how you frame things for yourself and for others, meaning, what is it that we do every day in our team or in our organization, and is part of what we do working to change ourselves and to develop ourselves over time, is that incorporated into our core values and our key behaviors, but not just as posters on the wall, but something that we we talk about on a regular basis. And when something happens that exemplifies it, we celebrate it, and we point it out so that others notice what kinds of things we're looking for. And second, what habits are we putting in place in order to improve? Like, what what is the Learning Zone look like in our team? Or in our organization? Is it for example, you know, weekly meetings? Do we have a section of the agenda that is about sharing questions with each other or mistakes we've made? Are things we've learned? Or are we on a regular basis every quarter or every year? are we sharing with our teammates, what we're working to improve? And how they can support us along the way? What kind of feedback we want? Is it through soliciting feedback? What are the things that we're going to do in order to get better? And finally modeling learning visibly in front of others, not just talking about the importance of these things, but saying, Hey, here's what I want to improve on. Here's how you can support me. And I would love your feedback along the way and, you know, soliciting feedback regularly and sharing what we're learning along the way.
Sucheta Kamath: Wow. So I think what you're talking about is like the humility. I think having humility to say recognize your own humanity. And with that, mistakes are likely to be made and you're not perfect. But second thing having again, that you ability to consult somebody for their wisdom, even though they may be beneath you in terms of hierarchy of whatever leadership you're talking about. And lastly, sounds like again, courage, which is to do the hard work to change make changes itself. So I love that. So as we come to an end of our discussion, two things I would like to talk to you first, how have you personally benefited from this amazing knowledge that you have gleaned? From your work that you have done collaboration with Dr. Dweck? And this opportunity to meet people from all walks of life? What have you accomplished through that?
Eduardo Briceño: Sure, when I first read Carol Dweck's book in 2007 and I met her, several things arose for me in terms of how my fixed mindsets had gotten in the way of my goals and things that I cared about. And since then, I've worked on those things, and and have changed quite a lot in those years. An example. Yeah, absolutely. So I was gonna share that. So a couple of examples. First. The first like clear is, one is in sports. In sports, I used to think that athletic ability was something that's fixed and people mind was fixed at a medium level. And, and so when I, whenever I played a game, it was all about proving myself, like figuring out how good I was trying to show that I was good. And if if I made mistakes, then I would get really upset at myself, or I would blame myself or others or, or my teammates, or the opponents. And I would not pay attention to what I could practice and how I could improve and how to go about practice in an effective way, I would just perform Oh, just try to play the game. So as best as I could, and that's not a good way to improve. And so I actually became much better athlete as an adult once after I realized this, and I was playing in recreational soccer leagues, I became much better because I realized that I needed to work deliberately on improvement if I was going to get better. Another area was interpersonal relationships. Throughout my life. If I wanted to start a friendship, or if I wanted to deepen a friendship, I would often be scared about taking interpersonal risks. Because if I was, if I was rejected, it would stink too much, it would say something about permanent. And what I realized is, you know, I have friends who are really funny, or really good with people, they've been experimenting their whole life with what works, what doesn't work, certainly changing, and iterating. And so I started doing that. And I, I became a lot better at it. And I enjoyed a lot more. And then also in work, you know, I used to just want to be sure of myself and have a lot of confidence in the sense of, I'm confident that what I'm saying is right. And that was preventing me from developing and listening and asking questions and getting better. So I've changed a lot in that way as well. So those are some examples. So lovely how this work has impacted me personally. But there's many others as well.
Sucheta Kamath: Oh, such a great example. And again, it speaks to your openness to allow that change to occur and and inviting the change by observing yourself and also engaging in with courage, as we were talking about earlier. So it was our last question. We always love to ask our guests, what are some of the books that have influenced you? And if you could share that with our listeners? Or what are you reading these days that piques your interest?
Eduardo Briceño: Sure. So we we've mentioned the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, that's the seminal book about growth mindset and fixed mindset, highly recommend that. Another book that is great about how to improve, and what leads to great expertise and skills is Range by David Epstein. And that's a wonderful book that talks about the value of kind of being a generalist and exploring broad things and distant domains, not just going deep into one domain. And there's different strategies that can work for different people. That's not to say that, as the elevation doesn't work great in some areas, and for some people, but it's, it's a, it's an interesting read about that particular topic. And one book that was very, very influential for me personally, was the art of happiness by the Dalai Lama. When I first switched my career from being in venture capital to doing the the work on growth mindset. I read that book and I realized that my happiness was really something that I could cultivate within myself independent of my circumstances. Before that I was always just trying to change My circumstances and improve my circumstances, I thought the happiness would follow. And I realized how like that's that's just not how it works. So that's the third book that I would recommend.
Sucheta Kamath: Well, lovely. And I think that is such a beautiful book, which is, in fact, it's the life management principles from Dalai Lama, I feel you know, and and also speaks very highly of that growth mindset, as you mentioned, the way you understood it. Well, thank you so much, once again, I think. Thank you for tuning in everyone. Thank you, Eduardo, for sharing your wisdom, and really bringing into focus the broad nature of impactful and broad and impactful nature of growth mindset. And also to understand growth mindset, and to recognize your fixed mindset is literally acknowledging your humanity, and also taking the steps to really go around it. So I really appreciate one of the things in the podcast. When we talk about executive function, we talk about creating a personal playbook for change. And to me working on this growth mindset is a strong chapter in that so thank you. If you love what you have heard so far, share the episode. Connect with your friends and family and and please leave us a review your review helps people find us and also we are being listened to in 110 countries help us spread the joy. And thank you, Eduardo, for joining me today.
Eduardo Briceño: Thank you, Sucheta. It's great to be here and thanks for your important work.