Mindset – a Powerful Agent: reviewed through reading Hope Heals and Etched in Sand

Mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone; a mental inclination, frame of mind; a way of thinking…..


The book I’m reading has been waiting on a shelf a long time! I finally got into Mindset – The New Psychology of Success (author Carol Dweck -referral link) after a friend shared these focal premises:

  • a fixed mindset is “believing your qualities are carved in stone”; one that can keep you trapped and threatened by the success of others.
  • a growth mindset is “believing your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts”; one that can bring you a richer, more alive and inspired life.

For me, this book has not been a page-turner. I find the content dense and the chapters  written in a cumbersome format. However, I am munching my way through, intent to learn how to develop a growth mindset. The following notes are practical tips for any age and stage, (and I quote):

  • intelligence can be developed
  • with a desire to learn rather than look smart, work for achievement by:
    • embracing challenge
    • persisting in the face of setbacks
    • viewing effort as the way to improvement
    • learning from criticism
    • finding tips and inspiration from other’s successes

As I said, pretty “heady” reading so to balance it out I’ve read two memoirs that had me hooked.  The powerful agent of mindset for amazing resilience and determination over extreme odds in both of them was my inspiration for this post.

First was Hope Heals (written by Katherine Wolf and Jay Wolf, referral link), recommended by my daughter, Renee Tougas. I gobbled this book up. In the final two paragraphs of her blogpost Renee shares how the essence of Hope Heals impacted her (which I think many of us can relate to) – beginning with a brief synopsis:

“.. a story of a young mother’s life-threatening massive brain stem stroke, her subsequent disabilities and physical recoveries…a story of loss and hope, suffering and faith.”

 “How would I handle such a difficult circumstance?” can’t help but be a question from the reader, and in this story’s excruciating conditions – a physical sense being only one way – one could feel the pain as the pendulum swung between the two mindsets.

The young mother, 26-year-old Katherine, did (does) have a strong faith foundation along with a loving and supportive family. But to dig deep into the place where ‘rules of the game’ suddenly were reversed (a daily energetic run switched out for a stroke and a wheelchair-walker combo!); a growth mindset and determination played a huge role in her outstanding recovery, as well as their family staying intact – with ultimately having another child!


The second one: Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island (author Regina Calcaterra,referral link). This was almost unbelievable reading from my framework of growing up secure and loved.

The set of players: five siblings, biological and foster parents, social workers and teachers and other authority figures. It’s amazing these siblings survived – a story of shifting circumstances and mindsets. Regina – one of the five and author of the book –   was particularly ‘chosen’ for abuse but so driven by a mental will, commitment and love to struggle and endure to keep the family together at almost any cost.


The outcomes of these stories invoked victory and hope and respect: won through pain and sacrifices (that are on-going), that God-willing I hope will not be my personal journey to walk. And hopefully neither for you.

But for certain, our lives will be daily altered and affected by our mindset. I encourage you to commit to grow in the one that will be your path to your endless potential.

Love and gratitude,


P.S. As always, if you want to talk about challenges and joys with mindset, healthy lifestyle, moving towards purposeful living at any age, please email me at ketoews@gmail.com or contact me here.

Thank you for prairie landscape photo: sister, Ruth Langerud.

(privacy policy and affiliate disclosure: I am a participate in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you click on my blog, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale.)   

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