Self-HelpThe Unseen Project

The Growth Mindset – Explained

The Growth Mindset – Explained

The Growth Mindset is a concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck which was popularised by her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  According to Dweck, a mindset is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is one example of a mindset. Another is “I can make friends with anyone” or “no one likes me”. People may also have a mindset related to their personal or professional lives—“I’m a good teacher” or “I’m a bad parent,” for example.

People can be aware or unaware of their mindsets, according to Dweck. This can have a profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other aspects of life.

People with a Growth Mindset believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication and perseverance. They typically learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for success.

A fixed mindset is the opposite of this. Dweck states that “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success without effort.”

The Growth Mindset vs. The Fixed Mindset

Summary of Dweck's Mindset

So in basic terms:

People in a fixed mindset believe they are either good or not good at something, based on their inherent nature, because that’s just “who they are”.

People in a growth mindset believe anyone can be good at anything, because their abilities are entirely down to their actions.

Traits of a Fixed Mindset:

Hiding your flaws so you’re not judged or labelled a failure.

Sticking with what you know to keep up your confidence.

You look inside yourself to find your true passion and purpose, as if this is a hidden inherent thing.

The belief that relationships “just happen” and no amount of effort is needed for it to work.

It’s all about the outcome. If you fail, you think all effort was wasted. Failures define you.

Traits of a Growth Mindset:

Your flaws are just a TO-DO list of things to improve.

You regularly push into the unfamiliar, to make sure you’re always learning.

Committing to mastering valuable skills regardless of mood, knowing passion and purpose come from doing great work, which comes from expertise and experience.

Failures are temporary setbacks.

The belief that relationships come from effort and working through inevitable differences.

It’s all about the process, so the outcome hardly matters.

How The Growth Mindset Can Help You?

First you need to identify any problem areas that need addressing. Look at what’s preventing you from getting your dream job, better frienships/relationships, improving your qualifications and skills etc. Get a notepad out and write down what your goals are. Then acknowledge how much your current mindset has affected you reaching them.  Terms such as “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t” and “It’s pointless” indicate a fixed mindset. In order to change this you need to challenge these thoughts. The image below shows examples on how to do this.

Challenging the thoughts of a fixed mindset to develop a growth mindset


As you can see the mindset itself is not fixed. You can change your mindset just by thinking it through. It will take lot’s of practice but keep at it. What you will find is a new sense of confidence in whatever you put your mind to.


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