Growth Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Growth Mindset Gattaca

Carol Dweck, PhD, is one of the world’s leading researchers in motivation. Her research has concentrated on how to encourage success and why people flourish. To help us understand why we act like we do, Carol Dweck summarises decades of her study in her book. She focuses on the distinctions between individuals with a fixed mindset and those with a growth” mindset.

Individuals with a Growth Mindset think their skills can be developed (through hard work, excellent tactics, and input from others). They often outperform individuals with a more Fixed Mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they are less concerned with seeming intelligent and devote more time and effort to studying.

I never lose. Either I win, or I learn.

Nelson Mandela

You have the choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re solid convictions but only in your head, and you can change your mind.

Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset
Mindset by Carol Dweck

If you have a fixed mindset, you feel that your characteristics, talents, and personality are genetically decided at birth and that you can do nothing about it. The primary goal for persons with a fixed state of mind is to affirm and prove they are intelligent.

When they make errors, they are more inclined to believe that it is due to their inherent ineptitude and that there is nothing they can do about it rather than viewing them as learning opportunities. They are also more inclined to blame others for their mistakes than accept responsibility and learn from them. As a result, they are less likely to take chances.

People who adopt this Mindset are prone to misinterpreting criticism as a personal insult.

Growth mindset

If you have a growth mindset, you think you develop your characteristics mainly via work and that everyone can improve with hard work and devotion.

The objective of persons with a growth mindset is to learn to advance.

A new vision of failure

The biggest obstacle to success is the absence of failure. Carol Dweck discovered that some students strive for performance objectives whilst others strive for learning goals. In the first example, you’re attempting to demonstrate your ability. In the second, you are trying to gain new knowledge or skills.

People who set performance objectives restrict their potential unknowingly. If you aim to validate or demonstrate your skill, you choose tasks you are confident you can do. You want to appear intelligent, so you repeat the same act. – If you aim to improve your abilities, you choose more complex challenges and perceive setbacks as helpful information that helps you sharpen your concentration, become more inventive, and work harder.

You are not a failure until you start to blame.

John Wooden

In one research, seventh-graders were asked how to handle an academic failure—a low test grade in a new subject. Those with the Growth Mindset predictably stated that they would study harder for the next test. On the other hand, those with a Fixed Mindset said they would study less for the following test. They also stated that they would really consider cheating! They reasoned that you should find another means if you don’t have the skill. Why spend your time if you don’t have the ability?

Furthermore, rather than attempting to learn from and correct their shortcomings, persons with a Fixed Mindset may just try to heal their self-esteem. For example, they may search for others who are in even worse shape than they are. College students could review other students’ tests after a bad performance on a test. Those with a Growth Mindset examined the exams of people who had performed significantly better than they had. They intended to repair their deficit, as usual. On the other hand, students with a Fixed Mindset decided to look at the exams of those who had performed horribly. That was their method of making themselves feel better.

Growth Mindset Famous Examples

  • Henri Ford went bankrupt twice before becoming the successful man he is today.
  • Before deciding to publish Harry Potter, J.K Rowling received several refusals from many publishing firms.
  • Jack Ma, the multibillionaire founder of Alibaba, failed the college admission exam three times and the Harvard exam ten times; he applied for 30 jobs and got refusals. He even tried at KFC. Out of 24 candidates, he was the only one to fail. His first business went bankrupt.
  • Walt Disney was sacked from an animation business for “lack of Creativity.”
  • Steve Jobs was fired from his firm before returning to lead it and establish its current reputation.
  • Michael Jordan. He was not a natural. He was maybe the hardest-working athlete in sports history. Nevertheless, Michael Jordan was excluded from the high school varsity squad. The college he desired to attend (North Carolina State) did not recruit him. The first two NBA clubs that might have picked him did not. Were they not blundering? Because we now know he was the greatest basketball player of all time, and we believe this should have been evident from the outset. We see Michael Jordan when we look at him.

The journey to a growth mindset

Every one of us is on a journey. Accepting that we all have both perspectives is the first step.

Then we learn to identify what sets off our fixed Mindset. Failures? Criticism? Deadlines? Disagreements?

And we learn what occurs when we activate our fixed mindset “persona”. Who exactly is this persona? What’s the name of it? What do we think, feel, and do due to it? What impact does it have on people around us?

Importantly, when we educate our persona and encourage it to join us on our growth-mindset journey, we may progressively learn to stay in a growth-mindset location despite the triggers.

Ideally, we will learn more about how we may assist others on their journeys.

The Influence Of Compliments

How we relate to others can foster a mindset in them. How we reward children, in particular, has an essential effect on the growth of their mental state. Carol Dweck describes a study with several hundred fifth-grade pupils in her article “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” for Scientific American:

“Psychologist Claudia M. Muller and I gave the children questions on an IQ test. After the first 10 questions, where most of the students were good, we complimented them. We complimented some for their intelligence: “Wow… that’s a great score. You have to be smart.” For others, we complimented them for their efforts: “Wow… that’s a great score. You must have worked very hard.”

We have found that compliments based on intelligence encourage a fixed frame of mind more often than compliments based on effort. For example, students praised for their intelligence wanted to avoid complex tests – they wanted an easy one instead – more often than children praised for their efforts (the latter wished to solve complex problems so they could learn).

Class Room

When we gave them all complex problems to solve, those whose intelligence we recognised became discouraged and doubted their abilities. And their scores, including on more straightforward exercises we gave them afterwards, have declined compared to their previous scores on similar issues.
Conversely, children praised for working hard did not lose confidence in the more difficult questions, and their performance improved on the more straightforward exercises that followed.”

We can complement effectively, not on intelligence or talent, but on effort, process, focus, persistence, and improvement. According to the psychologist, praising “creates strong and resilient children.”

Questions & Answers

Is your Mindset a permanent aspect of your personality, or can you alter it?

Mindsets are vital to your personality, yet you can alter them. You may begin thinking and behaving differently just by understanding the two mindsets.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steve Covey also describes the value of a Growth Mindset. He calls this habit: Be Proactive.

Can I have a half-and-half? Both Mindsets seem to be present in me.

We all have a combination of fixed and growth mindsets. You can have fixed creative abilities, and your intelligence can develop. Or your personality is set in stone, but you can sharpen your creativity. People’s mindsets might also differ in various sectors. We’ve discovered that whatever Mindset people have in a specific area guides them in that area.

With all your faith in hard work, are you suggesting that it’s all their fault when people fail because they didn’t try hard enough?

No! A genuine effort is essential—no one can thrive for long without it—but it is far from the sole factor. People have a variety of resources and possibilities. People with money, for example (or wealthy parents), have a safety net. They may take greater chances and persevere for a more extended period until they achieve. People with easy access to a decent education, a network of prominent connections, and people who know how to be in the right place at the right time have a higher chance of seeing their hard work pay off. An endeavour that is wealthy, educated, and well-connected does better.

The Growth Mindset | Carol Dweck | Talks at Google
I know a lot of high-achieving workaholics who appear to have a fixed mindset. They always want to display their intelligence, yet they work hard and overcome obstacles. How does this mesh with your theory that persons with a fixed mindset choose low-effort, simple tasks?

On average, people with a fixed mindset enjoy uncomplicated achievement since it is the most incredible method to demonstrate their skill. But, yes, plenty of influential individuals believe their characteristics are set and want continual confirmation. These people want to win the Nobel Prize or become the wealthiest person globally and are prepared to go to any length to achieve their goals.

What if I enjoy my predetermined Mindset? I know where I stand and what to anticipate if I know my strengths and capabilities. Why should I give up on that?

If you like it, go ahead and keep it. You can choose by outlining the two mindsets and the worlds they generate. The idea is that individuals can select whatever reality they wish to live in.

Gattaca and Growth Mindset

Gattaca is a science fiction film directed by Andrew Niccol. It depicts a future civilisation that employs reproductive technology and genetic engineering to create genetically modified humans. Scientists and clinicians guarantee that individuals born utilising reproductive technology have desired physical and psychological qualities while preventing negative traits by selecting particular genes.

Gattaca explores the ethical applications of biotechnology, gene modification, and the difference between Fixed and Growth Mindsets. The film follows Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), a man produced without reproductive technology. He struggles to overcome genetic shortcomings compared to his augmented counterparts to pursue his ambition of a career in space flight.

Growth Mindset

Despite his lack of natural talent, Freeman aspires to a job in space travel with Gattaca Aerospace Firm, a prestigious space-flight corporation. He works out a lot to develop his physical strength and always reads and researches.

Fixed Mindset


In contrast to Freeman, Jerome Eugene Morrow, played by actor Jude Law, has upgraded genetics, rendering him physically and psychologically perfect. He is supposed to be naturally gifted. Morrow is paraplegic after attempting suicide by hurling himself in front of a car after losing a swim competition. Failure for a fixed mindset, like Jerome, is not conceivable.

Jerome and Vincent’s juxtaposition clearly reflects the disparity between the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset. One is a Fixed Mindset that ended up becoming marred by his desire to be perfect, and the other is a Growth Mindset that became greater than his genes predisposed him to be.

Gattaca is a sci-fi classic due to its theme of the human spirit. It openly asserts that if a person is motivated enough to attain their goals, nothing can stop them. At the film’s start, every card is dealt against Vincent; everything stands in his way. But that didn’t stop him from travelling to space. His ambitions were as elevated as the stars, and the film underscores the concept that his fate belonged to him.

What’s holding us back but our mindsets?

Growth Mindset Conclusion

According to Carol Dweck’s research, persons who believe that their intellectual capacity is fixed from birth, wired in their genes, avoid situations where they may fail because failure would appear to be evidence of lower innate ability.

People who are encouraged to realise that effort and learning affect the brain and that their intellectual talents are primarily under their control are more inclined to confront and persevere with challenging difficulties. Failure, to them, is a sign of effort and a fork in the path rather than a measure of incompetence and the end of the road. Making errors is a necessary element of learning; it is not a sign of failure but effort. Failure, according to Thomas Edison, is a source of inspiration. David Gousset

Writing your Personal Mission Statement is an excellent way to start on the way to a Growth Mindset.

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