Growth Mindset

Our minds have such an ability to influence our lives. It's amazing how powerful our minds and our thoughts can be; how we look at the world shapes our own world.

"Growth mindset" (a term coined by Carol Dweck of Stanford University) is marked by a self-belief that your intelligence is malleable and never set in stone. As Ellen DeGeneres once said, "It's failure that gives you the proper perspective on success. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail. Both are equally important." Researchers have found that children who are encouraged to view failure as an opportunity for growth faired much better than children who had parents who reinforced the notion that failure is always 'bad.'

People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence is malleable, expandable, and never fixed. They also believe that you can learn and grow from mistakes or setbacks.

Failure and success are two sides of the same coin. Previous research has found that growth mindset also boosts resilience, positive emotions, and someone's ability to bounce back quickly from the agony of defeat. With practice, a growth mindset helps you let go of failure's disappointment and move on to new challenges. 

On the flip side, those with a "fixed mindset"—who believe that their intelligence and abilities are less fluid—tend to beat themselves up and get stuck by dwelling on failures. A fixed mindset is also linked to a lack of self-compassion, in which failure can create a demotivating downward spiral of hopelessness and low self-esteem.

This is especially important for parents of younger children when teaching kids how to respond to setbacks in ways that are encouraging rather than discouraging. Nourishing a growth mindset can give youngsters a set of coping skills that could last a lifetime. I encourage teachers and parents to help children learn to pay more attention to their mistakes in a way that opens up growth mindset opportunities. Glossing over mistakes or shying away from a constructive dialogue about the importance of short-term failure as a pathway to long-term success can undermine someone's potential growth.


If you live in the Los Angeles/Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment here!


This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. Full article on Psychology Today.