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Portrait of a girl smiling in a school hallwayPortrait of a girl smiling in a school hallway

The attitudes and beliefs we have about ourselves are often referred to as a mindset and they can shape our view of the world.

Psychologist Carol Dweck first described two types of mindset that can have a big impact on how we live our lives: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

What is a fixed mindset?

With a fixed mindset, we assume that basic qualities like our intelligence and talents are fixed traits that we have no control over. We’ll say things like, “you either have it, or you don’t” and will stop trying when faced with a challenge.

What is a growth mindset?

With a growth mindset, we believe that new abilities can be developed through practise. We just have to keep trying and learn from our mistakes. On average, people who adopt a growth mindset, get better grades, do better in the face of challenges and are generally more successful.

Watch the video below and read on to find top tips on how you can develop a growth mindset.

Fixed Vs. Growth MindsetFixed Vs. Growth Mindset

Differences between a fixed & growth mindset

Differences between a fixed & growth mindset
Differences between a fixed & growth mindset
Girl indoor climbingGirl indoor climbing

How to develop a growth mindset

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Embrace challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow and gain experience

  • If you’re feeling scared, remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved in the past.
  • Break challenges down into smaller, more manageable steps so they don’t feel so overwhelming.
  • See learning as “brain training”! Like any other muscle, the brain can be trained. When we take on challenges and keep practising until we overcome them, our brain cells grow and make more connections. Our brain gets stronger and our skills do too!
  • Never stop learning, set a new goal every time you accomplish an existing one.
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Reframe failure

  • Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning”.
  • Rather than seeing failure as “the end”, try to see it as a stepping stone on the road to success.
  • Remember that it takes time to learn!
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Acknowledge and embrace your weakness as an opportunity to learn and grow

  • Plan your goals taking them into consideration:
  • For example, maybe you know that you tend to put things off until the last minute try to plan around that by making modest goals and giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to accomplish them.
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Learn to give and receive constructive feedback

  • Think of feedback as a way to learn.
  • If you have an area of weakness and someone is able to point that out to you, think of it as a gift that makes you aware of where you can improve.
  • Don’t be afraid to give constructive feedback to others, so that they also can learn and improve.
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Be clear on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, and remind yourself of that when the going gets tough

  • Outline what your long-term goals or purpose is.
  • Try to study and work with a purpose so you have the motivation to keep going.
  • Remind yourself of your purpose whenever you need a motivation boost.
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Look to others for inspiration

  • Celebrate their achievements. If they can do it, so can you!
  • Learn from their mistakes. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and pretend that it was you making the mistake, what would you do? What would you be able to learn?
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Update your language!

  • The words you use affect how you think & feel and can make a huge difference.
  • Try changing your language for an added confidence boost:
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INSTEAD OF…

SAY THIS

I can't do it!

I give up

I can't make this any better

I'll never be that smart

I'm pretty good at science BUT I still get a B


I can't do it, YET!

I'll use a different strategy

I can always improve

I will learn how to do this

I'm pretty good at science AND I'm getting better every week

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Remember that with a growth mindset anything is possible!

Cultivating a growth mindset isn’t always easy - it means doing new and difficult things, not being afraid to fail and giving ourselves confidence to learn and grow. When we do so we realise that anything is possible!

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