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Growth Mindset Definition I 7 questions about growth and fixed mindset answered!

Jeroen de Flander

A growth mindset is a crucial frame of mind successful people have adopted. But what is a growth mindset actually? What’s the difference with a fixed mindset? And can I develop a growth mindset?

This ‘mindset’ article and YouTube video from Prof. Carol Dweck will answer these questions and more.


Growth Mindset Quotes: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” ―Robert Schuller

Growth Mindset Definition: 7 questions answered

Here’s a short Q&A:

1. What is a mindset?

Definition: a mindset is the belief system we adopt to process information. It’s a program – a set – in our brain to monitor and interpret incoming information.

Let’s take a closer look:

We receive information all the time. And our mind keeps track – conscious and unconsciously – on what’s happening to us.

But our mind also applies a filter on all this information to simplify the interpretation process. It’s something we have acquired during evolution and further developed during personal experience.

Here’s an example how your mindset filters information:

A man and a woman are sleeping. There’s a noise that wakes them up. The man’s mindset (he believes: It’s probably the cat again). And goes back to sleep. The woman’s mindset (she believes: it might be a burglar. There were burglars down the street last year). She lies awake the whole night listening for others sounds.

Growth Mindset Quotes: Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing. ―Abraham Lincoln

2. What is the definition for growth mindset?

Definition: a growth mindset is a frame of mind – a belief system – we adopt to process incoming information. People with a growth mindset look at challenges and change as a motivator to increase effort and leaning.

3. Who discovered the growth mindset concept?

Psychologist Prof. Carol Dweck discover it. In fact, Dweck found that there are two predominant mindsets – a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. And the way our mind according to one or the other very much determines our success in dealing with challenges and change.

4. So, what’s the definition for fixed mindset?

Definition: a fixed mindset is a also a frame of mind. But people with a fixed mindset look at challenges and change as a threat.

5. What is the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset?

We all set our minds to process information. And as with the example explained above, it can either help us of hinder us.

People with a fixed mindset put a very strong evaluation on every piece of information they receive. Something positive led to a very positive evaluation. Something negative led to a very negative evaluation. Their fixed mindset creates an inner monologue focussed on judging. ‘This means I am a great leader’ or ‘This means I am a lousy student’

People with a growth mindset are also monitoring what’s going on – and absorbing the positive and the negative- but they are not judging themselves. Instead, people with a this mindset use the information to trigger learning and positive action. ‘What can I learn from this?’, How can I do better?’

Growth Mindset Quotes: “Success is 99 percent attitude, 1 percent aptitude” ―Celestine Chua

6. Why is it better to have a growth mindset?

The sum of our beliefs – our mindset – drive our actions. As Prof. Carol Dweck says: “much of what you think of as your personality actually grows out of this mindset. Much of what may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential grows out of it”

In other words:  our mindset is our decision and action guiding system. And it can either help us to fulfil our dreams or work against us.

Research from Prof. Carol Dweck and others show that successful people all have an underlying growth mindset. So, in short, if you want to be successful, it pays to invest in the right frame of mind – a growth mindset.

7. How can we develop our mindset?

Here’s an interesting growth mindset Youtube movie – a Ted Talk by Prof. Carol Dweck – on the power of believing that you can improve:


Read more: here’s a great article about performance coaching!