Fixed vs. Growth: A Mindset for Achievement

A basic truth: some students succeed while others fail.

Delving into why this happens and how to narrow this divide has been the subject of expert research across the globe. Stanford psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, is convinced that while the success of learners is associated with a number of attributes, a major contributing factor to performance (both in and outside the classroom) is mindset. Her remarkable work has been synthesized in an insightful volume titled, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

In her research, Dweck discovered that people tend to foster a belief about themselves that either hinders or helps performance.

“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.”

Dweck goes on to define two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

"“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…

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with…In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This 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.”

This means that encouraging a growth mindset within every learner is vital to achievement

Source: Dweck, Carol S., Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, (Random House, 2006)