In the title of this blog entry we clearly determine which side of the attitude to life and learning’s force we stand for. As authors of an innovative e-learning we are definitely #teamgrowthmindset, and what’s more, we framed Carol Dweck on our desks. What is mindset? How does the new psychology of development of American professor from Stanford University influence perceiving reality and exploiting own potential? If you want to learn why you make such choices and no other in your life and what to do to feel simply all right while climbing up to the top at one’s pace, this article is for you.

Mindset – what is it and what does it change?

A way of thinking or an attitude are the shortest definitions of a term ‘mindset’. Shortest but at the same time crucial for understanding the Dweck theory which based on tens of conducted examinations proves that the way people define themselves and their attempt at taking practical life challenges, allows to categorize them in two groups:


  • [/u1]fixed mindset[/u1]– attitude to sustainability,
  • growth mindsetattitude to development.


A thinking set to the sustainability is natural for the majority. In our opinion it is also very comfortable model. Living with the awareness that we are born with the determined package of abilities, and other basically aren’t within reach, seems simple, right? But does ‘simple’ means ‘valuable’? Do simple things give us the sense of meaning and importance in life? Or maybe aiming higher, achieving unattainable and constant crossing border of development is a better way?

A belief that there is always a time for changes and we can do something is not just cliche pointing us towards coaching on sale. It’s unusually pragmatic position, finding the 100% confirmation in researches. To be clear – Dweck isn’t a fairy godmother who whispers to the ear that you can do everything or to want is to succeed. Dweck says that you can do more than you think. That something like ‘born talent’ doesn’t exist because you need to put a lot of work and regularity in order to develop talent. It is impossible to determine growth limit in advance what let us often reach such level in getting the ability which not Plato dreamt of, or we suspected ourselves for.

Fixed vs growth – Giants’ game?

To have a talent and to rest on one’s laurels or to notice it and consistently develop is completely different issue. Fixed mindset, so people with attitude to sustainability are deeply convinced individuals who believe that talent, features, intelligence or competences are… permanent. What is the consequence? Thinking leading us up the garden path – ‘I can’t control that’, ‘ok, I am a born musical talent, it will happen overnight, it will come by itself’, ‘I don’t need to develop because I am already on  top’. Additionally they are afraid or don’t accept the others’ critic, they make no attempts to act because they assume negative opinion in advance. Fixed mindset is a trap which slows down or entirely inhibits the growth, that’s why use friendly advice and give growth mindset a high five.

In contrast there is growth mindset so people with the attitude to development whose  thinking is spinning around the assumption that the potential which a person can achieve and use is unknown, so the continual work, undertaken effort and development lead to success. Keep in mind that growth mindset attitude definitely isn’t a shortcut. Prepare for experiencing smaller or bigger store stress which is a natural state of excitement; a mechanism which informs us that we are just becoming involved in a situation where the development will happen. A stress doesn’t fall far from feeling great satisfaction coming from success. The more you do towards the growth, the sooner you restrain the stress factor, finally being pleased with achieved results and giving a next challenges high five. It is possible to get used to stress leading to the moment, in which we won’t expose ourselves to the situation of defining our identity by fail. Quite the contrary! Just the opposite! We will draw conclusions from such events and a lesson for the future. Thanks to growth mindset every situation is the chance for celebration or learning from our mistakes. Anyway, it’s always good.

Now stop for a moment and ask yourself a few questions: are you active or passive on the field of action? Do you focus on a born talent or working on talent? Do you take up a challenge or you resign? Do you practice or you give up? Confront your replies with fixed and growth assumptions, and check what you can change for the better.

Growth mindset – main assumptions

Shortly, growth mindset is a concept by which it is possible to develop a talent in ourselves, certain features, competences. Thanks to growth mindset:


  • you can ask questions and you are able to accept difficult replies,
  • you analyse mistakes, use feedback and modify the work strategy,
  • you don’t try to prove superior or inferior beings,
  • you don’t devote the energy for keeping up the beliefs about born talents,
  • you care about your development and growth of people from your environment,
  • you motivate and inspire yourself and others,
  • you ask yourself: ‘what else can I do in order to become better in my field?’.


Unfortunately there are a lot of defence mechanisms which block growth mindset in us. These are i.a.:


  • defining yourself through the prism of current achievements and being too  focused on self-image which we create in our heads,
  • treating any fails which disqualify us from the possibility of achieving success too personal,
  • treating critics as the personal attack, not the valuable feedback,
  • avoiding raising standards – dealing only with such tasks which we are able to do with no margin for error.


Where does it come from? Out of fear, most often fear of failure. Out of habit for safe choices, for lack of passion and covering ourselves with the warm blanket made exclusively of some interests, which you chose just because. It’s clear sailing to sad situation – instead of feeling joy because of success in several years, you will sit down on the sofa and bitterly cry with the more bitter sentence at the mouth: ‘I regret that I didn’t do this”. And that’s exactly what we want to avoid.

With such barriers that hamper growth mindset we can meet at home, at school, at work, around friends, in sport etc. Dweck clearly points at paradoxes which happen in many circles and divide people on better and worse.

The standardized educational systems which divide children to humanists or scientific minds. Either, or. Corporations which invest in so-called talents, instead of developing the potential of all employees. Either, or. Sport which promotes and trades aspiring stars, instead of supporting all competitors. Either, or. Home where parents unwittingly perpetuate a born talent belief or its lack in children, stigmatizing and discouraging from taking some action.

The power of growth mindset – several examples

In order to convince you even more that growth mindset broadens horizons, is colourful and makes life complete, we present a few situations in which potentially you could be. What do you choose?


  1. CHALLENGE – It’s going to be very intense day at school. 


  • fixed mindset: I’m going nowhere. I am staying at home. I am not getting off my bed.
  • growth mindset: I’m into it. At least I won’t regret that I didn’t try and I can learn something.


       2. OBSTACLE – List of complicated issues for an exam.


  • fixed mindset: This is a joke, nobody is able to learn it. Well, I certainly won’t.
  • growth mindset: I didn’t realize it can be so difficult. In that case I will plan my schedule to manage learning it all. I’ll figure it out.


        3. CRITIC – A teacher gives you negative feedback about your essay. 


  • fixed mindset: He’s been after me, I can feel it. It’s not fair.
  • growth mindset: Actually I could take matters further in some points. Now I know what I can do better and work on it, improve my skills. Maybe I’ll get a chance for extra consult with my teacher.  


Fight against fixed mindset isn’t a tilting at windmills. Give a chance to yourself and bet on growth mindset contrary to opinions of those who claim that we aren’t able to cope with some issues.

What do we need to start?

Decision. You have this choice. You have this freedom. Eventually you control your attitude. What will you choose?