Growth Mindset

Do you believe intelligence is fixed or that you can increase it? What about creative or athletic abilities?

I used to think I believed in growth- until I read Mindset by Carol Dweck. It brought up so many memories of school, from elementary school to engineering. Being praised for how smart I am, instead of how much effort I put into school. And as an A+ student who didn’t need to put in a lot of effort, I loved this way of thinking. Showing everyone that I was brilliant without studying- it seemed like a great situation.

I realized that while I believe in growth for skills I coach around (listening, taking responsibility for your actions, or not acting like a victim), I thought of intelligence as a fixed quantity. After reading Mindset, I’m working to change that.

Go for the challenge

What if you chose to go after what was challenging? If you didn’t care about “failing”? At a coach training this weekend, I decided to go all out with this idea, and it worked better than I could have imagined.

When something sounded hard, I moved toward trying it instead of shying away. I’ve never felt confident negotiating, but I successfully negotiated a prize worth $60 from our trainer! I just as easily could have decided not to participate (it wasn’t required), but by choosing to put myself out there, I gained confidence, learned that I can negotiate, and of course won the prize, which was for something I really wanted.

Do you have a growth mindset? What challenges could you go after for you to grow?






Challenge yourself by moving towards abundance with my 3 Steps to Abundance!


  1. Steveark says:

    I sailed through chemical engineering because I was extremely intelligent. I watched smart people fail totally at it because it required more than above average intelligence to master. It required a specific type of intuitive understanding that I never saw anyone learn that didn’t already possess it from childhood. Some could make passing grades but they never were gifted engineers during their careers. Or maybe that is just the way I filtered reality. It is an interesting question.

    • Steve, it makes perfect sense that you would view engineering as a fixed skill after experience all those people fail around you, while you succeeded!

      I wonder what would have happened if those smart people who had failed were encouraged to try harder instead of being told (even implicitly) that they would never be smart enough?

      One phenomenon I saw consistently through my time in engineering were the kids who had been considered geniuses in their high schools but were only “average” once they got to engineering. Some kids were smart enough to still sail through without studying, yes, but most had reached a level of school that no longer came easily to them. Since they had been the super smart kid in high school, however, they had no idea how to study or how to increase the effort they put into school. So, they assumed they could never do it. My friends who were not naturally smart, who had worked their asses off to even make it into engineering, excelled in college. They already knew how to work hard to truly understand difficult concepts, and they applied these skills and succeeded in engineering.

      Thanks for your input- it really is an interesting question.

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