People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.
The idea that one evaluation can measure you forever is what creates the urgency for those with the fixed mindset. That’s why they must succeed perfectly and immediately. Who can afford the luxury of trying to grow when everything is on the line right now?
In the growth mindset, it’s almost inconceivable to want something badly, to think you have a chance to achieve it, and then do nothing about it.
Believing that your qualities are carved in stone— the fixed mindset— creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character— well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.
In one study, seventh graders told us how they would respond to an academic failure— a poor test grade in a new course. Those with the growth mindset, no big surprise, said they would study harder for the next test. But those with the fixed mindset said they would study less for the next test. If you don’t have the ability, why waste your time? And, they said, they would seriously consider cheating! If you don’t have the ability, they thought, you just have to look for another way.
…growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way— in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments— everyone can change and grow through application and experience.
For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.
If we foster a growth mind-set in our homes and schools…we will give our children the tools to succeed in their pursuits and to become responsible employees and citizens.
The idea of trying and still failing— of leaving yourself without excuses— is the worst fear within the fixed mindset…
An assessment at one point in time has little value for understanding someone’s ability, let alone their potential to succeed in the future.
Even in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.
You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.