Cultivating a Growth Mindset

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck, a Stanford University Psychologist, proposes a simple, yet revolutionary idea for finding success. She outlines two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. People with fixed mindsets believe that their talents and abilities are simply static, fixed traits, whereas people with growth mindsets believe that their basic qualities such as talents and intelligence can be cultivated through dedication and hard work (Dweck, 2006).  Those with fixed mindsets avoid challenges, give up when obstacles get in their way, ignore criticism, and find the success of others threatening.
Those with growth mindsets embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism, and are inspired by the success of others.


Tips for Nurturing your Growth Mindset:

  • Don't be fearful of challenges. Even though you may struggle, the amount of growth you’ll experience will be powerful.  Instead of thinking "this is too hard," try thinking "this may take some time."
  • Persistence pays off. When obstacles get in your way, power through. Do not give up.  Instead of thinking "I give up," try thinking "I'll use a different strategy."
  • Learn from criticism! Listen to it and see if you can change your thinking or actions so that you’ll be more successful in the future.  Instead of thinking "I made a mistake," try thinking "mistakes help me learn."
  • Find inspiration in the successes around you: When friends and fellow students succeed, congratulate them! Be motivated by success. Remember that the successes of others' may look different then your success.  Instead of thinking "my friend can do it," try thinking "I will learn from them!"

*Image and tips adapted from Oregon State Learning Center and Kent Primary School .