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Louis CK Reveals an Important Lesson about Getting Things Done in the Office

Stashed in: Problem?, life, @louisck, Mindset

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The key is our attitude of how we respond to problems.

In May, David Letterman interviewed Louis CK on The Late Show. CK performed his usual shtick but also made a shrewd insight about the nature of learning.

My kids panic when they [can’t figure out a problem]. And that’s ok. My mother was a math teacher and she taught me that the moment where you go “I don’t know what this is”—the moment when you panic—means you’re about to figure it out. That means you let go to what you know and you’re about to grab onto a new thing that you didn’t know yet. I’m there for them in those moments.

It’s a great insight because it’s true: no one likes getting stumped. And when we do, it’s natural to think that the problem is a lack of brainpower. Yet years of research demonstrate that CK is right. Impasse is a sign that we’re nearing the solution, a veiled indication that we’re almost there. The trick is how we respond.

If we believe that intelligence is the problem—what the psychologist Carol Dweck calls a “fixed mindset”—we give up easier. But if we believe that persistence, effort or grit is the problem—a “growth mindset”—we push through the gridlock and, as Dweck has demonstrated, solve more problems compared to a control group.

Here is the Louis CK interview:

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