Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologists, doesn’t divide the people in the world into the successes and failures. He divides them by mindset—into the learners and nonlearners. How do you divide people?
When do you feel smart? When you’re doing something flawlessly or when you’re learning something new? How can you make striving, stretching, and struggling into something that makes you feel smart?
Do you ever feel superior to other people? Stop it! It’s the wrong mindset and it’s one failure away from feeling inferior. Using the growth mindset, discuss ways of feeling confident and worthy without feeling superior.
Did you ever label yourself a failure or loser after something negative happened—failing a test, losing a job, being rejected? Describe a time this happened. How could you have been more like Jim Marshall, who made his humiliating experience into a life-changing opportunity?
Are you a person who tends to avoid responsibility for your problems or failures by making excuses or blaming others? Think of specific examples and discuss how you could use a growth mindset to take responsibility and start to correct the problems you face.
Have you ever been like Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg—afraid to give something important your full effort? Think of times you’ve done this. Are there other self-defeating ways you try to protect yourself from (meaningful) failure?