July 1, 2024

Ted Talk Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset | Carol Dweck

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ted talk growth mindset vs fixed mindset

The Two Mindsets

In the Ted Talk video titled “The Power of Believing You Can Improve,”  Stanford Professor Carol Dweck describes 2 fundamental mindsets that shape how individuals perceive their abilities and potential: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

The growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, effort, and learning. People with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to grow and view failures as a natural part of the learning process.

On the other hand, the fixed mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence are static traits that cannot be changed. Individuals with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges, give up easily when faced with obstacles, and see effort as fruitless if they lack inherent talent.

Dweck’s research highlights the profound impact fixed and growth mindsets have on motivation, achievement, and overall personal development. By understanding and adopting a growth mindset, individuals can get out of their comfort zone and achieve greater success in various aspects of life.

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through deliberate practice, hard work, and learning. This mindset fosters a love for learning and resilience, essential for great accomplishments. People with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to grow, embrace feedback, and persist in the face of setbacks. They understand that effort is a path to mastery and that their abilities can be cultivated through perseverance and practice. 

A fixed mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence are static traits that cannot be changed. Individuals with a fixed mindset often avoid challenges, give up easily, and see effort as fruitless. They are more likely to ignore useful feedback and feel threatened by the success of others. This mindset can lead to a desire to look smart and a fear of failure, which can hinder personal and professional growth.

Dweck’s research shows that adopting a growth mindset can lead to higher achievement and greater motivation. For example, students with a growth mindset are more likely to excel academically because they view effort and struggle as part of the learning process.

Contrastingly, those with a fixed mindset may plateau early and achieve less than their full potential. 

Growth Mindset and Grit

Dweck's "growth mindset" concept aligns closely with Angela Duckworth’s concept of grit, which she defines as a combination of passion and perseverance toward long-term goals. Duckworth’s research, presented in her book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” reveals that grit is a critical predictor of success, often more so than talent or intelligence alone.

The relationship between growth mindset and grit is deeply intertwined. A growth mindset fosters resilience and a love for learning, which are essential components of grit. When individuals believe they can improve, they are more likely to persist through difficulties and maintain their commitment to long-term goals. This persistence is a hallmark of grit.

Additionally, a growth mindset encourages individuals to view failures and setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than as reflections of their inherent abilities. This perspective helps them to stay motivated and continue striving toward their goals, even when faced with significant challenges.

In essence, a growth mindset provides the foundation for developing grit, as it nurtures the belief that sustained effort and perseverance will lead to improvement and success. Together, these concepts highlight the importance of cultivating both a growth mindset and grit to achieve personal and professional growth.

Can You Change from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

Changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is a transformative journey that requires conscious effort and practice. According to Carol Dweck's TED talk video, the first step is to recognize and acknowledge your fixed mindset triggers. These are situations where you feel challenged, face criticism, or encounter setbacks. Instead of seeing these as threats, reframe them as opportunities to learn and grow. 

Dweck emphasizes the importance of embracing the word “yet.” For example, instead of saying “I can’t do this,” say “I can’t do this yet.” This simple shift in language fosters a belief in the potential for improvement.

In addition, Dweck’s book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” suggests practical tools such as setting learning goals instead of performance goals. Learning goals focus on acquiring new skills and knowledge, whereas performance goals are about proving your ability.

Another effective exercise is to practice self-compassion and mindfulness. When you encounter a challenge, instead of being self-critical, remind yourself that effort and persistence are key to growth.

Journaling can also be a powerful tool. Write about your experiences, what you learned from them, and how you can apply these lessons in the future. 

Surrounding yourself with a supportive community that encourages growth and provides constructive feedback is also crucial.

Finally, celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Acknowledge the effort you put in and the improvements you make along the way.

By consistently applying these strategies, you can gradually shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, unlocking your full potential for personal and professional development.

From Setback to Success

In Dweck's video, she illustrates how a growth mindset can turn setbacks into opportunities for growth and learning. For instance, she shares examples of students who, when faced with academic challenges, embraced the struggle and ultimately improved their performance.

This mindset fosters resilience, as individuals with a growth mindset view failures not as a reflection of their inherent abilities but as a stepping stone to success. They understand that effort and perseverance are crucial to overcoming obstacles. 

In her book, Dweck further elaborates on how a growth mindset can lead to success in various domains, including education, business, sports, and personal relationships. She explains that those with a growth mindset are more likely to take on challenges, learn from criticism, and persist in the face of difficulties.

This approach not only enhances their skills and knowledge but also builds their confidence and motivation. By continuously seeking improvement and viewing setbacks as opportunities to learn, individuals with a growth mindset can achieve remarkable success. Ultimately, the power of believing you can improve lies in the ability to transform setbacks into successes, fostering a lifelong journey of growth and achievement.


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