Skip to Main Content

Course Sharing

A Growth Mindset

Infographic titled Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset with the subtitle Comparing the 2 Mindsets. The Growth Mindset columns inlcudes the following questions: What can I learn from this? Who can I ask for help? Why might I not be there yet? What tools can I use? The Fixed Mindset column includes the following phrases: I can't do this. I don't need feedback. This is taking too long! Nothing ever works.

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

How we think about ourselves and our abilities affect every aspect of our lives. Our thoughts affect the goals we set for ourselves, the friends we accept into our lives, and the ways we approach learning about and exploring the world.

Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Standford University, coined the term "growth mindset" to describe a particular response to frustration and failure —when students failed to solve a difficult problem in one of her earlier studies, Dweck found that one group focused on the failure itself while the other group "embraced the failure and treated it as a learning experience" (Smith, 2020).

A person with a fixed mindset believes their intelligence and talents are fixed in place—in other words, the person believes you either have a certain skill or you don't have it. A fixed-minded person "usually avoids challenges in life, gives up easily, and becomes intimidated or threatened by the success of other people" (Smith, 2020).

A person with a growth mindset "views intelligence and talent as qualities that can be developed over time" and that skills can be improved "through effort and actions" (Smith, 2020). A growth-mindset person puts time in their schedule to learn, approaches challenges with determination and patience, and accepts feedback from others as a way to improve their work.

Relying on course-sharing or homework help sites for quick answers puts you at risk for approaching your life with a fixed mindset—but you can still turn things around!

If you'd like to learn techniques to be more resilient and persistent in your learning, check out the Mindset Matters module on the Academic Skills Hub.

Self Assessment Quiz

Want to know more about your mindset?

Take the Mindset Assessment to find out!


Mindset Works. (n.d.). Take the mindset assessment to learn more about your mindset. 

Smith, J. (2020, September 25). Growth mindset vs fix mindset: How what you think affects what you achieve. Mindset Health.