Carol Dweck: The Power of Mindset and Psychology of Success

“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

Carol Dweck, PhD, is currently a professor of psychology at Stanford, University and previously held positions at Columbia and Harvard Universities. Along with being a researcher and a professor, Dweck also lectures to education, business, and sports groups around the world on the ‘mindset for achievement.’ Through her research, Dweck coined the terms ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset‘.


Dweck’s research has been focused on the power of mindset, and her best-selling book Mindset: the New Psychology of Success goes deeper into this research.

Dweck’s conclusion, after years of applied research and case studies, is that there are two main mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. According to the website, co-founded by Dweck and Eduardo Briceño, Dweck found that one’s mindset correlates to how one approaches challenges. Someone with a growth mindset would approach challenges with more eagerness and would learn from their failures and not be stopped by them. In contrast, someone with a fixed mindset is less likely to approach challenges and would be discouraged by failure.  They assume they do not have the ability and would not work to improve.

Someone with a fixed mindset would believe that their abilities are fixed and cannot be developed or increased. In contrast, someone with a growth mindset would believe that there is always room to grow their abilities and learn new things. Dweck also discusses the idea of a “false-growth mindset” where someone might think they have a growth mindset, or understand what it means to have a growth mindset, but they actually don’t have a growth mindset.

Dweck also makes it clear that, “Nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time.” Everyone has a mixture of fixed and growth, depending on the situation. Someone can have a tendency towards a growth mindset, but there will still be instances that trigger a fixed mindset.

In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Dweck goes into the different mindsets and how parents and teachers can help foster a growth mindset.

“Focus on the learning process and show how hard work, good strategies, and good use of resources lead to better learning.”

Fostering a growth mindset is very important, especially for parents, teachers, and coaches. Dweck makes it clear that fostering a growth mindset is not simply praising the child for everything they do. In fact, Dweck’s mindset research comes in direct opposition to the ‘self-esteem movement’ that focuses on empty praise. Dweck recommends praising the process and the learning strategies that the child, student, or athlete, implemented.

Dweck is currently looking to expand her research into areas beyond where it is already. She is also hoping to increase the teaching of the growth mindset into more areas of learning and extinguishing the false growth mindset. To learn more about the mindsets, and to find out your mindset, take this quiz!

Dweck’s legacy lives on not only in her work, but in the work of other growth mindset speakers. Other growth mindset speakers include George Couros, Patrick Schwerdtfeger, Iris Bohnet, and many more. Check out the complete list of Top Growth Mindset Keynote Speakers you can book for your next event.  These men and women offer different perspectives on growth mindset.

For inquiries about booking Carol Dweck or other Women in STEM for your next event, please contact us.


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