Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset | The New Psychology of Success Revealed by Carol Dweck

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A fixed mindset comes from the belief that your qualities are carved in stone – who you are is who you are, period. Characteristics such as intelligence, personality, and creativity are fixed traits, rather than something that can be developed.

A growth mindset comes from the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort. Yes, people differ greatly – in aptitude, talents, interests, or temperaments – but everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Growth mindset vs fixed mindset.

Now most people fall somewhere on the spectrum between these two mindsets. They might have a growth mindset of one thing and a fixed mindset about another. A person might think that she can succeed greatly professionaly but in her personal life, she may think that she is just doomed to bad relationships.

You need to stay on the winning side, and develop a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset requires you to prove yourself again and again. If you think that you are naturally smart, anything that seems challenging to you will seem frustrating. If you can’t solve a problem, it will feel like you are not smart enough. But having a growth mindset actually encourages you to find problems. You want to be more creative. You want to grow more. When you don’t derive your self esteem from the fact that you are smart, but instead from the fact that you can grow to solve any problem, THAT’s when you start to succeed. This is growth mindset vs fixed mindset.

Now it is completely possible to have all the signs of outward success and still have a fixed mindset. A person might have a well paying job with a great life and still be stuck in a fixed mindset. If that’s the case, anything that challenges their current beliefs about themselves will be an attack to their identity, and they will lose all opportunities to grow even further.

When you have a growth mindset Criticism is seen as valuable feedback and openly embraced. The hallmark of the growth mindset is the passion for sticking with it, especially when things are not going well.

Here’s a situation that the author talks about in the book that really shows the growth mindset vs fixed mindset.

One day, you go to a class that is really important to you and that you like a lot. The professor returns the midterm papers to the class. You got a C+. You’ve very disappointed. That evening on the way back to your home, you find that you’ve gotten a parking ticket. Being really frustrated, you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off.2

How would you react in the situation? If you think, “Ugh. I just have a bad memory. I can’t do well in this class now. I’ve have a bad day and even my friends hate me”. You have a fixed mindset.
If you thought, “Yes, this has been a bad day, but I need to work harder on the final to get my grades up. I probably should pay more attention to where I park my car the next time and my friend probably had a bad day too”. Then you have a growth mindset.

You don’t have to become completely stoic in order to have a growth mindset. We should not stifle our emotions. But what you do need to realize is the tremendous power of effort, and how a little shift in the way you think can lead you to great things.


“Smart people succeed,” says the fixed mindset. Therefore, if you succeed, you’re a smart person. Therefore, pick the easier problem so success is more likely, and you validate your smartness. Pick a hard problem and you may fail, revealing your stupidity.

“People can get smarter,” says the growth mindset, “and do so by stretching themselves and taking on challenges.” Therefore, pick the hard problem – who cares if you fail!


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