Education Growth Mindset Lifelong Learners Mindset

29 Essential Quotes from Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Mindset is one of those books that has the power to powerfully change all of your most important beliefs and perspectives: the way you view yourself, others, and what is possible. Although the concepts around growth mindset are especially relevant to educators, we are called to be learners and we all have the potential to grow. This book has permanently changed the way I view myself and I believe it might do the same for you. I definitely recommend it.

From the 2016 updated edition, here are (what I believe are) the 29 most significant highlights from Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

  1. “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you live your life.” (p.6)
  2. “This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. Although people may differ in every which way – in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” (p.7)
  3. “You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” (p.7)
  4. “In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.” (p.16)
  5. “People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it. The bigger the challenge, the more they stretch.” (p.21)
  6. “When do people with the fixed mindset thrive? When things are safely within their grasp. If things get too challenging – when they’re not feeling smart or talented – they lose interest.” (p.22)
  7. “In the growth mindset, it’s almost inconceivable to want something badly, to think you have a chance to achieve it, and then do nothing about it.” (p.44)
  8. “You can look back and say, “I could have been …,” polishing your unused endowments like trophies. Or you can look back and say, “I gave my all for the things I valued.” Think about what you want to look back and say. Then choose your mindset.
  9. “… even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it. Actually, sometimes you plunge into something because you’re not good at it. This is a wonderful feature of the growth mindset. You don’t have to think you’re already great at something to want to do it and to enjoy doing it.” (p.53)
  10. “People are all born with a love of learning, but the fixed mindset can undo it. Think of a time when you were enjoying something – doing a crossword puzzle, playing a sport, learning a new dance. Then it became hard and you wanted out. Maybe you suddenly felt tired, dizzy, bored, or hungry. Next time this happens, don’t fool yourself. It’s the fixed mindset. Put yourself in a growth mindset. Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.” (p.53)
  11. “The students with growth mindset completely took charge of their learning and motivation. Instead of plunging into unthinking memorization of the course material, they said: “I looked for themes and underlying principles across lectures,” and “I went over mistakes until I was certain I understood them.” They were studying to learn, not just to ace the test. And, actually, this was why they got higher grades – not because they were smarter or had a better background in science.” (p.61)
  12. “Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training. This is so important, because many, many people with the fixed mindset think that someone’s early performance tells you all you need to know about their talent and their future.” (p.70)
  13. “Do you label your kids? This one is the artist and that one is the scientist. Next time, remember that you’re not helping them – even though you may be praising them … Find a growth-mindset way to compliment them.” (p.81)
  14. “Those with the growth mindset found setbacks motivating. They’re informative. They’re a wake-up call.” (p.99)
  15. “If the wrong kinds of praise lead kids down the path of entitlement, dependence, and fragility, maybe the right kinds of praise can lead them down the path of hard work and greater hardiness.” (p.137)
  16. “Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence – like a gift – by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, seek new strategies, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.” (p.179-180)
  17. “One more thing about praise. When we say to children, “Wow, you did that so quickly!” or “Look, you didn’t make any mistakes!” what messages are we sending? We are telling them that what we prize are speed and perfection. Speed and perfection are the enemy of difficult learning: “If you think I’m smart when I’m fast and perfect, I’d better not take on anything challenging.” (p.182)
  18. “Many educators think that lowering their standards will give students success experiences, boost their self-esteem, and raise their achievement. It comes from the same philosophy as the overpraising of students’ intelligence. Well, it doesn’t work. Lowering standards just leads to poorly educated students who feel entitled to easy work and lavish praise.” (p.196)
  19. “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning.” (p.197)
  20. “Great teachers set high standards for all their students, not just the ones who are already achieving.” (p.200)
  21. “When students don’t know how to do something and others do, the gap seems unbridgeable. Some educators try to reassure their students that they’re fine just as they are. Growth-minded teachers tell students the truth and then give them the tools to close the gap.” (p.203)
  22. “So, are great teachers born or made? … It starts with the growth mindset – about yourself and about children. Not just lip service to the idea that all children can learn, but a deep desire to reach in and ignite the mind of every child.” (p.205)
  23. “A growth mindset is about believing people can develop their abilities. It’s that simple.” (p.215)
  24. “Let’s be totally clear here. We as educators must take seriously our responsibility to create growth-mindset-friendly environments – where kids feel safe from judgment, where they understand that we believe in their potential to grow, and where they know that we are totally dedicated to collaborating with them on their learning. We are in the business of helping kids thrive, not finding reasons why they can’t.” (p.217)
  25. “It’s the parents who respond to their children’s setbacks with interest and treat them as opportunities for learning who are transmitting a growth mindset to their children. These parents think setbacks are good things that should be embraced, and that setbacks should be used as a platform for learning.” (p.219)
  26. “People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better?” (p.225)
  27. “Maggie’s internal monologue used to say: Don’t do it. Don’t take a writing class. Don’t share your writing with others. It’s not worth the risk. Your dream could be destroyed. Protect it.” (p.227)
  28. “Instead of being held captive by some intimidating fantasy about the Great Writer, the Great Athlete, or the Great Genius, the growth mindset gave them the courage to embrace their own goals and dreams. And more important, it gave them a way to work toward making them real.” (p.228)
  29. “Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. When people – couples, coaches and athletes, managers and workers, parents and children, teachers and students – change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Their commitment is to growth, and growth takes plenty of time, effort, and mutual support to achieve and maintain.” (p.254)


By Tim Cavey

I write about productivity, technology, education, fitness, and real estate. Create> Consume.

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