Updated: Feb 25
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I am an avid reader. I love to read. It is my hobby. As a child, my favorite thing was to find somewhere quiet and crack open a new book. Two years ago, it seems every article or book I read on grit, success, or leadership referenced the book Mindset, by Carol Dweck. After an endorsement by a good friend, I decided to read it.
This book is in the top five books that have changed the way I operate as Dr. Shillcutt.
Now let’s be clear: it wasn’t entertaining. I didn’t laugh until I cried or anything, but if there is one book that has made me change the way I parent, how I view my ability to be a peace with my decisions, bounce up from failure, and understand my skill and how I interact with others, it is this book.
And to my surprise, it also changed the way I view my ability to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling.
The author, Dr. Carol Dweck, is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She is the leading world expert on the psychology of success. Dr. Dweck spent her career researching differences in children and adults who are similar in intelligence yet have opposite responses to difficulties, tests, and setbacks. In her studies of the intelligence of success, Dr. Dweck teaches there are two groups of people: those who believe their abilities are innate (a fixed mindset), and those who believe they can acquire their intelligence through effort and perseverance (growth mindset).
She found that those who rise to the challenge and bounce back from failures (growth mindset), and those who respond to failure by withdrawing, shutting down, and become low performers (fixed) differ in their mindset and even their neuronal makeup. While I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but think of the culture of medicine and its application. Medicine is an interesting combination of science and art. I experience fixed mindsets everywhere; regimented practices of “we’ve always done it this way, so this is the way it shall continue.” Sometimes a fixed mindset is good; there is natural order in medicine, and rightfully so. There is structure, protocols, regimens and best practices to heal.
But I can tell you, as a woman physician, if I did not adopt a growth mindset early in my career, I would not be as resilient as I am today. I believe as Dr. Dweck’s research shows, I would not have earned success nor the respect of my colleagues. I cannot stress how importance this mindset is as a woman in medicine, where statistically speaking, the odds of climbing the ladder of academia on pace with our male colleagues are simply not in our favor.