top of page

6 surprising things about the growth mindset that you probably didn't know!

6 surprising things about the growth mindset

We have spoken a fair bit about the growth mindset on this site, and in today's article, I want to share with you 6 things that you probably didn't know about it. As you know, the growth mindset was discovered by Dr Carol Dweck when she researched how people grappled with failure. She started by seeing how children reacted to a series of increasingly difficult puzzles. She found out that there are two types of children - those who were energised by increased difficulty, and those who gave up. This led to further research into how the two mindsets were formed - and these she called the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. What Dweck further uncovered was that these mindsets are equally present in adults as they are in children, and by understanding their mindset, we can also predict if they were more likely to succeed or fail in the face of uncertainty.

Dweck's Questions

Let's see if you had a growth mindset or not. I repeat Dweck's questions here for you.

Read each statement and decide if you mostly agree, or mostly disagree, with it:

1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you cannot change very much.

2. You can learn new things, but you cannot really change how intelligent you are.

3. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.

4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.

You can also substitute the word intelligence for "business skills", "artistic talent" etc, and still have a valid result.

Now, Questions 1 and 2 are the fixed mindset questions, and Questions 3 and 4 are the growth mindset ones. So, how did you do?

Now, let's see how this is applied to personal qualities. Read the following statements and see if you mostly agree, or mostly disagree, with them:

1. You are a certain kind of person and there is not much that can be done to really change that

2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially

3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are really can't change

4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are

Questions 1 and 3 are the fixed mindset questions, and Questions 2 and 4 are the growth mindset. So, are you a fixed or growth mindset person in this case?

So here's the first of the surprises...

1. You can have separate mindsets

Now, did you get the same results for both sets of questions? It can actually be that both differ. The first set deals with intelligence and talent, things that require mental ability. The second set addresses your personality, and how you react to situations. So, they deal with different issues, and hence can differ. This may come as a surprise to some of you because we normally associate a person who has a fixed mindset to ALWAYS have a fixed mindset in all situations. But the fact is that he can have fixed mindset about personality, and a growth mindset about intelligence.