by Kathie England

Two Mindsets

Carol Dweck, Ph.D. explored the concept of mindset in her powerful 2006 book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success. Alia Crum, Ph.D., one of Dweck’s colleagues at Stanford, defines mindset as “a mental frame or lens that selectively organizes and encodes information.”

I recently listened to a Huberman Lab podcast titled “How to Enhance Performance & Learning by Applying a Growth Mindset.”

I had planned that this month’s post would be based on that topic until I read Heather Cox Richardson’s post on September 13 where she shared thoughts from Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Blinken contrasted the mindset of authoritarian powers with the mindset of the United States. Blinken didn’t use the term mindset, but I believe that’s exactly what he was contrasting.

Blinken reflected on “the international order enshrined in the UN Charter and its core principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence for nations, and universal indivisible human rights for individuals.”

Blinken warned that our rivals, “Beijing and Moscow are working together to make the world safe for autocracy.” The mindset of democracy is also “challenged from the inside by elected leaders who exploit resentments and stoke fear; erode independent judiciaries and media; enrich cronies; crack down on civil society and political opposition.”

Though our democracy is flawed, the U.S. is in a position of strength from which it seeks to reinforce a rules-based international order in which “goods, ideas, and individuals can flow freely and lawfully across land, sea, sky, and cyberspace, where technology is used to empower people – not to divide, surveil, and repress them.”

Blinken continued, “where the global economy is defined by fair competition and widespread prosperity, and where international law and the core principles of the UN Charter are upheld, and where universal human rights are respected.”

Blinken contrasted our vision, our mindset, with that of our competitors. “They see a world defined by a single imperative: regime preservation and enrichment. A world where authoritarians are free to control, coerce, and crush their people, their neighbors, and anyone standing in the way of this all-consuming goal.” (Sadly, this mindset is shared by many in our own country.)

Blinken urges us to strive for a world that “tilts toward freedom, toward peace, toward an international community capable of rising to the challenges of its time.”

Next month I will share how by embracing a growth mindset we can pursue this vision.