Use a Growth Mindset to Learn Anything


Today, I’m chatting with Praveen Selvasekaran. Praveen and I first met about 16 years ago in Bangalore, India. Little did I imagine then that we would meet up again, working in the same company. Imagine my surprise when I got a Slack message from him welcoming me to the company where he’d been working for several years!

Praveen and I have a meandering chat, discussing some of the changes he’s made in his life, from moving away from home, to moving to Canada with his wife, where they are building their family. It’s impossible to resist Praveen’s energy, and hard to imagine how he survived months of not being able to communicate in school as a pre-teen. Imagine winning a poetry contest in a language you’ve just learned to speak. That’s quite a dramatic way to regain your voice! But that’s not surprising at all when we learn how Praveen thinks, particularly his growth mindset. He shares the lessons that he’s learned from his quest for success to help inspire us to make changes in our own life. Listen til the end for two great book recommendations that have helped Praveen encounter change gracefully.

You can follow Praveen and connect with him at

Timeline of the Chat

1:27 – Praveen introduces himself
2:53 – How I know Praveen
3:19 – The Biggest Change
4:43 – Why and how he learned English
5:47 – His experience at boarding school
7:31 – How encouragement changed his life
8:42 – The poetry competition and how it changed Praveen
12:24 – Steps to success and the role of mindset in change
15:50 – How Praveen was inspired to make a change in his life
17:50 – The fears that try to hold us back
19:42 – What inspired Praveen to move
20:22 – What has he learned about change
22:08 – Two books to handle change gracefully

At 21:04, Praveen references a quote by Paulo Coelho. I couldn’t find that quote, but I did find two quotes that I think are relevant to this conversation:

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.

Paulo Coelho

The two books that Praveen recommends for helping you adapt to change are The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck (on delayed gratification) and Mindset by Carol Dweck.

At 23:16, the quote is “The true traveller never arrives” by Edgar Degas.

Related Episodes

Quotes from the chat

That encouragement changed my life.

There was a switch. It was almost like I got a firmware upgrade.

The number one thing that I would say without which nothing could have ever happened was encouragement, encouragement from a mentor.

I came across as confident but no, I’m not. Inside I’m just shivering like everyone else.

It was a very dramatic experience that shaped things to come, where I learned that if I train myself, I can compete. I can learn stuff.

For the first time I felt encouraged. He believed in me that yes, I can do it.

You can train yourself, mentally, physically.

I started believing in myself

You discover yourself. You have to know yourself.

I would always worry about how I was judged externally.

Subsequent experiences taught me richness is something more internal. It is something that everyone has within themselves.

Change is the only constant that we will ever see. It will hit you again and again and again.


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