Counselor's Connection

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

According to Harvard Business School, "individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning". 
Someone with a growth mindset views intelligence, abilities, and talents as learnable skills and are capable of improving these skills through effort. On the other hand, someone with a fixed mindset views those same traits as inherently stable and unchangeable over time.
Students with a growth mindset may think or say these similar phrases
  • Everyone is talented in many ways.
  • I’m still learning.
  • I’ll keep trying.
  • With more practice it will be easier.
  • Mistakes help me learn, I can try a different strategy.
  • Performing these tasks may take some time and effort.
Students with a fixed mindset may think or say these simple phrases:
  • This is too difficult.
  • I might as well give up.
  • I’m not as good at this as other people so why even try?
  • I’ll never be as smart as that person.
  • I can’t do it.
  • I give up.
  • I’m not good at this.
Help students shift towards a growth mindset with these three tips:
1. Encourage students to begin journaling - Studies show that journaling helps students improve their emotional intelligence and ability to bounce back from obstacles. Journals with a specific focus on growth mindset can help students gain both self-awareness and confidence in their abilities.
2. Give Process Praise - Parents and teachers, the next time you’re about to offer praise for a job well done, consider the following phrases: “I can see how much you practiced, and look how you improved”, “I love the way you tried all kinds of strategies in Math until you got it.” This type of praise works because it tells your student and child what they did well and how to keep it going in the future.
3. Offer growth mindset books and movies - One of the easiest ways to instill a growth mindset in your child and family is also one of the most fun. Stories and films are an incredible resource for shifting the way we think about our abilities.