Critical Thinking, Dr. Carol Dweck, Fixed-Mindset, Growth-Mindset, Learning, Mental Health, Personal Growth, Perspective, Thinking

Fixed-Mindset versus Growth-Mindset: What Mindset Do You Actually Have? Which Mindset Are You Encouraging and Reinforcing in Your Children?


Fixed mindset v growth mindset - 1a

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It seems fairly self-evident that the more we ourselves can develop a growth-mindset, the mentally healthier and happier we will be.

It also seems self-evident that the more we can cultivate, encourage, and reinforce in our children a growth-mindset, the happier and mentally healthier they will be.  In fact, to not encourage a growth-mindset may arguably be a form of neglect, as involuntary and unwitting as that neglect might be.






Critical Thinking, Examining Life, Maria Konnikova, Perspective, Resilience, The New Yorker, Thinking

How People Learn to Become Resilient – The New Yorker

Abridged from the article linked at the end of this post:

Perception is key to resilience: Do you conceptualize an event as traumatic, or as a chance to learn and grow?

[T]eaching people to think of stimuli in different ways—to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative, or in a less emotional way when the initial response is emotionally “hot”—changes how they experience and react to the stimulus. You can train people to better regulate their emotions, and the training seems to have lasting effects.

[T]raining people to change their explanatory styles from internal to external (“Bad events aren’t my fault”), from global to specific (“This is one narrow thing rather than a massive indication that something is wrong with my life”), and from permanent to impermanent (“I can change the situation, rather than assuming it’s fixed”) made them more psychologically successful and less prone to depression. The same goes for locus of control: not only is a more internal locus tied to perceiving less stress and performing better but changing your locus from external to internal leads to positive changes in both psychological well-being and objective work performance. The cognitive skills that underpin resilience, then, seem like they can indeed be learned over time, creating resilience where there was none.

Unfortunately, the opposite may also be true. “We can become less resilient, or less likely to be resilient,” Bonanno says. “We can create or exaggerate stressors very easily in our own minds. That’s the danger of the human condition.” Human beings are capable of worry and rumination: we can take a minor thing, blow it up in our heads, run through it over and over, and drive ourselves crazy until we feel like that minor thing is the biggest thing that ever happened. In a sense, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected.

[R]esearch shows that resilience is, ultimately, a set of skills that can be taught.


All of which means that a lack of resilience can also be unwittingly cultivated and taught.

Critical Thinking, Social Media, Thinking

Truth or not?


The quote starts out with “Everything,” not “Most of” or “In general, much of.” It starts out with a categorical, an absolute.  So is this statement itself inherently self-contradictory or not?  Is this statement, attributed to Marcus Aurelius, merely his opinion or is it a fact?  Is it his perspective or is it truth?

Shouldn’t these purported words of Marcus Aurelius be rendered, “Everything we hear, including this, is an opinion, not a fact”?   That would then be closer to an internally consistent and therefore truthful or factual statement, would it not?

But it also might be that what Aurelius really wants to say is that “It’s a fact that everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact, except for this, this–what I am saying right here and now–is actually a fact and not an opinion, and thus is excluded from being merely an opinion.”

See?  That’s the game of subjectivity.

"Life is Complex", Critical Thinking, Debate, Examining Life, Seek First to Understand, Thinking

Debate Rules


1. If you want your views respected, then respect others’ views. Truth is like two blind people trying to describe an elephant by touching it. Sure, you may have your hands on the area of its trunk and husks and ears, and therefore you are convinced that your opposition has its head and hands up the elephant’s arse. But remember, you are both blind and you are both describing only part of the elephant, so a little humility and open-mindedness will serve the situation well.

2. If you want people to listen to your views, then learn how to listen to the views of others, especially when they differ from your own. (And the more your views differ, the more important it will be to learn how to listen well.)

3. Acknowledge what is true about the other person’s perspective. (This is especially true when discussing/debating with family and friends.)

4. Think, don’t just react emotionally or from your pride or pathetic need to be right. It’s never who’s right but what’s right.

5. Be willing to put in the time to think critically. And not just about the other person’s point of view and why it’s wrong, but also about your own reaction and your own point of view and how it might be incorrect or lacking important information/considerations. (It may be your head that is up the elephant’s arse.)

6. Be impeccable with your words. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t be a mental midget and start spewing nonsense about “YOUR TRUTH” when what you clearly mean is “your opinion” or “your belief.” And for gawdsake don’t use all caps to try to make your point appear grander or more solid than it is; that’s bush league.

–> If you are unwilling to do these things or at least sincerely attempt these things, then you’re a foolish selfish pathetic unthinking little troll and need to bugger off of social media, because reason and thinking are wasted on you.




An important distinction (the difference between labeling and diagnosing) articulated very clearly.


I’ve just told her that I think she’s clinically depressed.

She frowns.

“Don’t label me,” she says.

“I’m not.  I’m diagnosing you,” I say.

“It’s the same thing.”

No, it’s not.

We label people.  We diagnose problems.

Labels are judgments, inaccurate and hurtful because they tend to oversimplify and stigmatize.

A diagnosis, though, is an explanation.  It explicates something that needs correction or repair.

And when it’s accurate, it points us in the right direction.

Discarding diagnosis because we confuse it with labeling is like ignoring the road map we need to get where we want to go.

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"Life is Complex", Critical Thinking, Examining Life, Facebook, M. Scott Peck, Social Media

Is Life Actually Simple? Or is Life Complex?


Is life really simple?  Is living really simple?

Or is it complicated?

Are some (many?) things in life over-determined, the result of a confluence of variables interacting–variables of which we are likely only aware of a few?  Is life simple and black and white, or is there often a lot of grey area involved to be dealt with and navigated through?

And what about our fascination with quotes and soundbites — with platitudinal thinking and thought-terminating clichés?  Can living happily be simplified (or dummied down) to five steps, or to the above five steps?–especially given that the first step contends that “Life is simple” and admonishes us, the reader, not to complicate it.

M. Scott Peck, author of “The Road Less Traveled,” addressed this tendency of pretending that “life is simple” in two of his follow-up books, “Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Towards Spiritual Growth” & “The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety” —

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