What is a mindset?

“Mindsets are beliefs – beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities and abilities.”1

What is a growth mindset?

Fixed mindset versus Growth mindset

According to Carol Dweck from her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,“[In a growth mindset,] people believe their most basic abilities and qualities can be developed and cultivated through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”2 Another way to state this would be: Great learners are made, not born.

What is a fixed mindset?

“In a fixed mindset, most people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success–without effort. They’re wrong.”2

États d'esprit



Click here to watch a video that illustrates the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset.3

Le secret d’un état d’esprit en évolution


So what do you do if you have a fixed mindset? This video may help!4


Success comes through effort and failure

Discussing success through failure

As you watch this video, consider the ways you can relate this famous failure to your own experiences with effort, failure and success.5

You can watch more inspiring videos about the amount of effort and failure it can take before achieving success or continue on with the module.6

You will soon be able to identify a growth versus a fixed mindset.

Recognize and change your fixed mindset voice

There are four main steps to changing from a fixed to a growth mindset.2

  Step one    Learn to hear your fixed mindset voice

To get the most out of the learning opportunities in this course, you need to recognize when your own mindset might be getting in the way of your learning and use strategies to change it.

Transcript (.pdf, 80kb)

Step two   Recognize that you have a choice


Step 3   Talk back with a growth mindset voice

Step four   Take the growth mindset action

With practice you can learn to decide which voice you will listen to and act on.

Ideally, you will:

  • Take on the challenge wholeheartedly
  • Learn from your setbacks and try again
  • Hear the criticism and act on it

Practice listening to both and acting on the growth mindset voice. See how you can make it work for you. As we go through the next activities, try to be mindful of the voice you’re hearing.

Set your priorities

Reflect phase

As part of the reflect phase of self-regulated learning, it is important to have a clear vision of your priorities.

Complete [link to ACTIVITY 4] to practice identifying fixed and growth mindset statements and help you achieve this clarity.



  1. MindsetWorks. mindsetworks.com
  2. Dweck, C. S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success; Gildan Media Corp, 2007.
  3. Mindsets: Fixed Versus Growth. youtu.be/M1CHPnZfFmU
  4. The dirty little secret about growth mindset. youtu.be/zionUl13Dko
  5. James Dyson discusses success through failure. youtube.com/watch?v=_hG79AwLw3s&t=1s
  6. Failure playlist: goo.gl/rTMQ4e


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Growth & Goals: a course-integrated module to better equip students with learning skills Copyright © by Alison Flynn; Elizabeth Campbell Brown; Emily O'Connor; Ellyssa Walsh; Fergal O'Hagan; Gisèle Richard; and Kevin Roy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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