If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Learn: The growth mindset

The growth mindset

In part 1 of this activity, Sam and Mia showcased different mindsets and strategies when learning a difficult concept in math.
A professor at Stanford has been observing students like Sam and Mia from all walks of life learn for years. As part of that work, she developed the idea of growth mindset and fixed mindset.
This researcher’s name is Carol Dweck. She has challenged the common belief that intelligent people are born smart; instead, this is what she found:
Khan Academy video wrapper
The growth mindsetSee video transcript
Let’s breakdown what Carol Dweck said in the video.
The growth mindset is the belief that you can grow your brain and that your intelligence grows with effort.
“The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”
A fixed mindset is the belief that you are born a certain way and cannot change.
“In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted.”
Singer and songwriter John Legend has a strong growth mindset.
Khan Academy video wrapper
Begin Weekly Activity #2See video transcript

Which voice will you hear?

It’s normal to have both a fixed mindset and a growth mindset talking to us and competing for our attention.
Sometimes we listen to our growth mindset. We say to ourselves, “You can do this!” and think, “I’m not giving up!”
Other times, our fixed mindset shows up. It might be triggered by a mistake, a failure, or criticism from someone.
Our fixed mindset voice says things like, “I'll never be good at this.”
How do we start to challenge our fixed mindset voice so that we can adopt a growth mindset?
We can use both our language and our actions!

We can use our language.

We can use our language to combat the negative self talk that comes with a fixed mindset.
1. The power of yet: Add yet at the end of your fixed mindset statements.
Example: “I can’t do this.” → “I can’t do this YET!”
2. Say stop: When your fixed mindset voice is getting out of hand, tell yourself to stop and clear your mind before continuing.
3. You instead of I: It’s easier to pump yourself up and give yourself crucial advice using the word you instead of I.
Example: "I got this." → "YOU got this!"

We can use our actions!

We can also use our actions to conquer the fixed mindset when it shows up.
1. Ask for help. Let your teacher know that you are struggling so that they can put you back on the right path.
2. Make a study group. Talk and work together with different study strategies.
3. Revisit your mistakes. Look at your mistakes, and review what you did wrong. This will help you avoid making the same mistake again later.
You have completed part 2 of 3 for this activity: Learn!

Want to join the conversation?