32 Put the Growth Mindset into Practice

Growth Mindset: Intelligence is not fixed but it can be developed over time, difficult tasks are worth pursuing, Feedback, even if it offers correction, is beneficial to support future growth: Fixed mindset: Intelligence is fixed and cannot be changed, if a task is difficult, it should be discontinued, negative feedback should be avoided or minimized
Image Credit: Graeme Robinson-Clogg


If you have discovered that you have a fixed mindset, consider how changing your thinking towards a growth mindset can influence your opportunities for successful learning and growth.

(1) Adjust your self-talk. A key sentence to remember is “I can’t do it — yet”. Consider feedback as information to help you as you continue to grow towards a goal, not as a final evaluation of your ability to learn and achieve.

(2) Respond to feedback differently. Rather than viewing feedback as criticism of who you are, consider feedback as an opportunity to grow.

(3) Rather than quitting when you face setbacks, use them as an opportunity to adjust your approach. You may be learning that your current approach to learning is not leading to the success you desire.  Seek out support from others, and try new ways of learning. Setbacks are an opportunity to learn about yourself and to discover what ways of working will be most effective for you.

(4) Embrace challenging opportunities. Though it may at first seem easier to avoid situations that might be difficult or perhaps risk failure, embracing challenges leads to success in the long term. Consider how accepting challenges will help you become the person you want to be in the future. [1]


Try it!

Apply the thinking strategies above to a situation you are currently facing.

  1. What was a challenging situation I faced this semester?
  2. How can I think about it differently using a growth mindset?
  3. What are the benefits to me of adopting this new way of thinking?

Extend Your Learning

Developing a growth mindset can make a powerful difference in your lifelong learning.  Explore the following resources to deepen your understanding of this concept.

1. Are you interested in understanding more about your mindset?  Try this online assessment to identify whether you currently have a growth mindset.

2. Explore The Mindset Continuum infographic.  As its author, James Anderson, emphasizes, fixed and growth mindsets are the end points on a spectrum of perspectives. Use this infographic to explore where you currently are on the mindset continuum, and identify areas for future growth.

  1. Adapted from: UNSW Sydney. (n.d.). Growth mindset. Retrieved from https://student.unsw.edu.au/growth-mindset


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University 101: Study, Strategize and Succeed Copyright © 2018 by Megan Robertson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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