Becoming Scruffy, and Carol Dweck

Scruffy JimWell, my missing luggage should be delivered this afternoon between noon and six p.m. Meanwhile, I’m still making do with my single set of clothes from the very long travel day yesterday. I have a start on a beard. My hair has looked better. Yep, I’m ready for the Lausanne Laptop Institute!

I was up at 6:30 this morning responding to a great question from Richard about the “One Size” presentation draft posted below. I answered some other email, and then marched off to iHop for breakfast and about an hour of reading Mindset by Carol Dweck. It’s an assigned reading book for admins this summer, and she’s launching through a theory about Fixed Mindset people (fixed lifelong abilities and limits) and Flexible Mindset people (lifelong learners who use failure as a chance to grow and change their abilities).

I’m trying to be good as I read this book. It reminds me of Peter McWilliams’ You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought book, which always struck me as a clever way to feel even worse about yourself. “Good grief, I just thought of myself as a loser. Only losers do that. Oh no!”

Dweck seems to be running through quite a few pop culture references (the always reliable John McEnroe, companies like Scott Paper that just “gave up,” and supermen types like Chuck Yeager). In some of her examples, the Fixed Mindset people simply off themselves. Hmmm. I guess I know what type I wanna be! You can’t afford to have a fixed mindset about anything!

Thus, I’m being flexible about my missing luggage. I don’t need those shirts and ties and clean socks to do a good presentation tomorrow morning, do I? If Indiana Jones can pull off a four-day beard for his entire career, so can I. (And he’s pretty close hero-wise to Chuck Yeager, even if he is a fiction.)

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