Ultimate Guide to a Growth Mindset (plus FAQ!)

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In recent years, the topic of a Growth Mindset has become very popular. Some say that understanding this concept is the key to success in life and being able to thrive under adversity. And the truth is, this is one of the few topics that is based on decades of academic research and is not just some self-help mumbo jumbo.

To help our readers understand this concept, we have spent months researching it and here is our very in depth guide to fixed and growth mindsets.

Dr. Carol Dweck became interested in students attitudes about failure and noticed that students reacted differently to setbacks – some students were devastated by even small setbacks, while others were resilient and used the setback to improve their performance.

What is a Growth Mindset?

People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and abilities are not fixed and can be developed. People with a growth mindset see effort as the key to success and this helps them thrive and persist and be resilient when they face challenges. By contrast, people with fixed mindsets believe they are born with a fixed level of intelligence and abilities and can’t do much to change it, so they tend to give up when they face challenges.

“People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.”

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Growth Mindset Definition

Many people have asked – “what’s the definition of a growth mindset?” The answer is both simple and complex.

Growth Mindset Quotes

There are so many great quotes from Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success that inspired me. Here are a few of my favorite Growth Mindset Quotes (and others are spread out through this blog post).

“For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life”.

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over”.

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“The fixed mindset makes you concerned with how you’ll be judged; the growth mindset makes you concerned with improving.”

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower.”

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“Those with the growth mindset found success in doing their best, in learning and improving. And this is exactly what we find in the champions.”

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“For [people with a growth mindset] it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.”

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“‘Becoming is better than being’. The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be”.

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“The growth mindset does allow people to love what they’re doing—and to continue to love it in the face of difficulties.”

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

“Those with the growth mindset found setbacks motivating. They’re informative. They’re a wake-up call”.

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

In brief, the idea of a growth vs. fixed mindset is that someone who is focused on growth sees things as opportunities and skills. The person with a growth mindset thrives on challenges. When they encounter a challenge, the person with a fixed mindset will quit and say “I can’t do it” while the person with a growth mindset will say “I can’t do it….yet” and then look for a way to improve her skills and figure out how to grow!

Growth Mindset Video

Sometimes a quick overview explainer video is easier to get a quick take on a topic. Here is a brief fun animated video that explains a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset and the basic qualities of these mindsets.


5 Benefits to Developing a Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset positively impacts your life in multiple ways. It impacts the way that you see and view the world. What are the benefits of developing a growth mindset? Let’s review the top 5 benefits:

Growth Mindset Benefit 1 – You Keep Learning

If you truly embrace a growth mindset, by definition you are embracing constant learning and developing new ways of thinking and also embracing new ideas. By contrast, people who stop learning (fixed mindset) tend to stagnate and stay at the level they are at.

Growth Mindset Benefit 2 – You Learn Perseverance

As you learn new things, you adapt and change how you think. And that gives you a broader perspective on things. In the past, if you had a fixed mindset you mind become frustrated and give up when you encounter a challenge. But if you’re committed to growth you learn perseverance and how to push through obstacles and find new paths to success.

Growth Mindset Benefit 3 -You Learn How to Embrace Challenges

Growth can be challenging. As you push yourself to grow, you are also pushing yourself to look at challenges differently and how to embrace them. Instead of experiencing “failure” you will now see opportunities and challenges as you become more resilient. And eventually you will even get excited about obstacles since they represent opportunities to learn and do new things!

Growth Mindset Benefit 4 – You learn how to Embrace Failure

When you’re interested in growing as an individual, you start to see failure differently than you did before. Instead of experiencing “failure” and having it stop you from growing, now it represents an opportunity to embrace failure and be resilient as you learn how to grow instead. The mindset of embracing failure will take your life into an entirely different direction.

Growth Mindset Benefit 5 – You Become More Open to Criticism

If you have an open mindset and are willing to grow, you are able to embrace feedback and criticism from others. You can use feedback to develop and change as a person and modify your behavior, skills and approach in life. It’s never fun to receive negative feedback or criticism, but with the proper open mindset you can take the feedback and use it to evolve yourself.

Most people (with a fixed mindset) will react negatively and defensively to critical feedback. And that prevents growth. But when you have a growth mindset, you stand out even more because you can embrace the feedback and change instead of getting emotional and staying stuck. That helps you become the best version of yourself. And in work it will help you learn new skills, and get promoted!

And so your brain becomes less adept at recognizing opportunities for improvement.

Growth Mindset Books

Carol’s book is really the definitive source on the Growth Mindset. Everything else is derivative from her work. so for that reason we only recommend her book. It should definitely be the starting place if you want to read a book on the topic.

Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck

If you want to change your mindset from positive to negative and start getting ahead, this is a great book that is NOT typical self help stuff. Carol Dweck really goes into specific details that you can apply to your life to change your mindset so it guides you toward growth.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

How to Change Your Mindset

So after reading this page if you are starting to think you might have a fixed mindset and you’re wondering what you can do about it, here’s how to change your mindset.

Dr. Dweck has discovered that just learning about and being aware of what a growth mindset is, can help people shift their perceptions and change how they view themselves and their lives. Just the aware of what a growth mindset is and how it differs from a fixed mindset is enough to give yourself a new lens on viewing the events of life and how you choose to respond to them.

Growth Mindset – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I change my fixed mindset into a Growth Mindset?

The key to changing your mindset first starts with simple awareness of what these terms mean. As you become more aware of your own mindset you can begin to change your own way of perceiving things, your internal dialogue (aka “self-talk”) and that leads to a change in your reactions (emotions) and your behaviors.

One quick trick to get started is to change your self-talk. If you have constant negative self-talk that keeps you trapped in a fixed mindset just start by adding the word “yet” at the end.

Negative self-talk: “I’m not good at math.”

New Growth Mindset Self-Talk: “I’m not good at math…yet.”

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