"Do you really believe I can change?"


Growth mindset interventions can sometimes have a enormous positive impact in lives. That shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can lead to meaningful changes in the lives of individuals is something I've seen up close several times in my own environment. In a recent book there is an impressive example of such a strong positive impact. Here are the words of the founder of mindset theory, Carol Dweck:

Places of growth

Many, many institutions could become places of growth. Even prisons could potentially become places of greater growth and not just places of retribution. In 2008, I received a letter from a man who, as a juvenile, had been sentenced to life imprisonment. He asked me if I really believed he could change and he requested a copy of my book Mindset. At the beginning of April 2019 I received the following e-mail from him, entitled “I'm home”.

I'm home

“Dear Professor Dweck,
Over a decade ago I read an article about a book that you wrote titled "The Psychology of Success". I was imprisoned at that time, serving a life sentence that I incurred as a juvenile under the age of 18. I wrote you a letter about the book and you responded by sending me a handwritten note with a autographed copy of the book.
I just wanted to tell you that I was instrumental in civically engaging with DC City Council and the Mayor to change its laws for juvenile lifers. Through the enactment of the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act of 2016, I was released on March 21, 2019, 15 days ago.
I just wanted to contact you to let you know that I am home, I have published eleven books and I am doing the work in society for people to humanize and love one another ... I have accomplished many things ... thanks to the Psychology of Success that you taught me in your book. Thank you for seeing me as a human while I was still inside of a cage!”