Mindset by Carol Dweck



It’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success – but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. We all have the power to change how we view challenges and adversity. By believing in your capacity to grow and develop, you increase the likelihood that you will achieve what you set out to do.

19 lessons


– by Carol Dweck –

1) How you see yourself matters

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.

2) Understand the two mindsets

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset – creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things that you can cultivate through your efforts. With fixed traits, success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. When it comes to changing your qualities, you must stretch yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

3) Learn to identify your strengths and weaknesses

If you believe you can develop yourself, then you must be open to accurate information about your current abilities, even if it’s unflattering. This is essential in order to learn effectively. However, if everything is either good news or bad news about your precious traits – as it is with fixed-mindset people – distortion almost inevitably enters the picture.

4) You can change your mindset

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. The growth mindset is something than can be learned and developed. You can start thinking and reacting in new ways.

5) Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn

Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. But as soon as children become able to evaluate themselves, some of them become afraid of challenges. They become afraid of not being smart.

6) We develop our own potential

Many of the most accomplished people of our era were considered by experts to have no future. Jackson Pollock, Marcel Proust, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Lucille Ball, and Charles Darwin were all thought to have little potential for their chosen fields. People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower.

7) Those with a fixed mindset are more likely to suffer from depression

Individuals with a fixed mindset tend to ruminate over their problems and setbacks, essentially tormenting themselves with the idea that the setbacks meant they were incompetent or unworthy. The more depressed they feel, the more they let things go; the less they take action to solve their problems. However, those who are taught to use a growth mindset think differently. The worse they feel, the more motivated and determined they are to confront the problems that face them.

8) Don’t let your failures define you

When people believe in fixed traits, they are always in danger of being measured by a failure. It can define them in a permanent way. Smart or talented as they may be, this mindset seems to rob them of their coping resources. When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them.

9) Those with a fixed mindset care more about their self-esteem than learning

Instead of trying to learn from and repair their failures, people with the fixed mindset may simply try to repair their self-esteem. For example, they may go looking for people who are even worse off than they are in order to feel better about themselves. Another way people with the fixed mindset try to repair their self-esteem after a failure is by assigning blame or making excuses.

10) It takes effort to become great

Those with a fixed mindset believe that effort is for people who don’t have the ability to do something. People with a growth mindset admire effort. No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.

11) We’re capable of more than we imagine

Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training. This is so important, because many people with the fixed mindset think that someone’s early performance tells you all you need to know about their talent and their future.

12) Great leaders have a growth mindset

Effective leaders aren’t constantly trying to prove they’re better than others. They don’t claim credit for other people’s contributions, and they don’t undermine others to feel powerful. Instead, they are constantly trying to improve. They surround themselves with the most able people they can find, they look squarely at their own mistakes and deficiencies, and they ask frankly what skills they and their company will need in the future.

13) A fixed mindset can pervade a company and stifle innovation

When bosses become controlling and negative, they put everyone into a fixed mindset. This means that instead of learning, growing, and moving the company forward, everyone starts worrying about being judged. It starts with the bosses’ worry about being judged, but it winds up being everybody’s fear about being judged. It’s hard for courage and innovation to survive a company-wide fixed mindset.

14) Groupthink occurs as a result of the fixed mindset

There are so many ways the fixed mindset creates groupthink. Leaders are seen as gods who never err. A group invests itself with special talents and powers. Leaders, to bolster their ego, suppress dissent. Or workers, seeking validation from leaders, fall into line behind them. That’s why it’s critical to be in a growth mindset when important decisions are made.

15) Create an organization that values the development of ability

Many organizations believe in natural talent and don’t look for people with the potential to develop. Not only are these organizations missing out on a big pool of possible leaders, but their belief in natural talent might actually squash the very people they think are the naturals, making them into arrogant, defensive non-learners.

16) Praising kids’ intelligence harms their motivation and performance

Praising a child’s intelligence or talent sends a fixed-mindset message. It makes their confidence and motivation more fragile. Instead, try to focus on the processes they used – their strategies, effort, or choices.

17) Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads

Whether they’re aware of it or not, all people keep a running account of what’s happening to them, what it means, and what they should do. In other words, our minds are constantly monitoring and interpreting. That’s just how we stay on track. But sometimes the interpretation process goes awry, Some people put more extreme interpretations on things that happen – and then react with exaggerated feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger. Or superiority. People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action.

18) Make concrete plans

Think of something you need to do, something you want to learn, or a problem you have to confront. What is it? Now make a concrete plan. When will you follow through on your plan? Where will you do it? How will you do it? Think about it in vivid detail. These concrete plans – plans you can visualize – about when, where, and how you are going to do something lead to really high levels of follow-through, which, of course, ups the chances of success.

19) Avoid denial

People in a fixed mindset often run away from their problems. If their life is flawed, then they’re flawed. It’s easier to make believe everything’s all right.