That’s according to Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, who coined the term “growth mindset” in her 2007 book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.”
Microsoft magnate Bill Gates tweeted a video of Dweck explaining the growth mindset earlier this week:
In the video, Dweck identifies two mindsets: the “fixed mindset” and the “growth mindset.” Students who have a fixed mindset believe their intelligence, basic abilities, and talent are unchangeable. In contrast, people who have a growth mindset think they can develop their talents and abilities through effort, good teaching, and persistence. These people can conceivably learn anything with proper focus.
“Kids who are praised for their intelligence don’t want a challenge afterwards, they don’t want to work on hard something, and if they hit difficultly, that’s it,” Dweck said in a video interview with the Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy.
That’s because new neural connections are actually formed when you make mistakes. So your brain actually grows by messing up a bit.
People who have a fixed mindset “tend to not handle setbacks well,” Dweck writes in her paper “Even Geniuses Work Hard,” because they believe obstacles “call their intelligence into question.” As a result, these people put less effort into their work and are more likely to blame others for their shortcomings. Those who adopt a growth mindset are more likely to succeed at challenges by staying involved and using all resources at their disposal to solve the problem.