Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

What We Know NowDescription:

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. They’re wrong.

In a growth mind­set, peo­ple believe that their most basic abil­i­ties can be devel­oped through ded­i­ca­tion and hard work — brains and tal­ent are just the start­ing point. This view cre­ates a love of learn­ing and a resilience that is essen­tial for great accom­plish­ment. Vir­tu­ally all great peo­ple have had these qualities.

Teach­ing a growth mind­set cre­ates moti­va­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity in the worlds of busi­ness, edu­ca­tion, and sports. It enhances rela­tion­ships. When you read Mind­set, you’ll see how.


Mind­sets are beliefs — beliefs about your­self and your most basic qual­i­ties. Think about your intel­li­gence, your tal­ents, your per­son­al­ity. Are these qual­i­ties sim­ply fixed traits, carved in stone and that’s that? Or are they things you can cul­ti­vate through­out your life?

Peo­ple with a fixed mind­set believe that their traits are just givens. They have a cer­tain amount of brains and tal­ent and noth­ing can change that. If they have a lot, they’re all set, but if they don’t… So peo­ple in this mind­set worry about their traits and how ade­quate they are. They have some­thing to prove to them­selves and others.

Peo­ple with a growth mind­set, on the other hand, see their qual­i­ties as things that can be devel­oped through their ded­i­ca­tion and effort. Sure they’re happy if they’re brainy or tal­ented, but that’s just the start­ing point. They under­stand that no one has ever accom­plished great things — not Mozart, Dar­win, or Michael Jor­dan — with­out years of pas­sion­ate prac­tice and learning.

Considerations or Implications

See Resources


The Power of Believing that You Can Improve~ Carol Dweck TED Talk

Mindset Works~ Brainology~website

The Skinny on Growth Mindset~ book Carol Dweck

Jo Boaler:  mindset in math

100% is Overrated ~ Article

WASCD Pro­gram Plan­ning Committee

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