Growth Mindset and Raising Children to Succeed


Raising Our Children to Succeed

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, author of Mindset and Stanford University psychologist, states that it’s never too early for children to develop a

mindset that will lead them to rich fulfilling lives. She defines mindset as one’s beliefs that  “…permeates every part of your life. Your “Personality” grows out of your ‘mindset'”. She also writes that your mindset, “may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential…”

There are two types of Mindsets:

Fixed – Focuses on OUTCOME. The belief that “basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. Time is spent documenting intelligence instead of developing them. The belief that talent alone creates success—without effort.” This leads to avoiding challenges or taking risks because of fear of failure.

Growth – Focuses on EFFORT. The belief that “basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” This promotes characteristics of perseverance, endurance, challenge and empowerment.

How did we develop a Growth or Fixed Mindset?

It is based on what messages, verbal and non-verbal we receive as children. “Every word and action can send a message.” It shapes how we think about ourselves growing up.

A Fixed Mindset Message:

·       Did you win?

·       Why are you so lazy?

·       How many goals did you score?

·       You’re a natural at this!

·       You’re brilliant! You get A’s without studying.

The negative messages can certainly cause low self-esteem, as a child believes he/she will never measure up. But even the “positive” ones create a fixed mindset. They give the impression that the child doesn’t have to put in the hard work. Praising children’s talent rather than their effort makes them doubt themselves as soon as they face something difficult.

A Growth Mindset Message:

·       I know how hard kicking with your weaker foot is! I’m proud that you tried it 3x this game!

·       You’ve been working really hard on your soccer skills and it shows in today’s game!

·       It’s wonderful that you kept at the problem until you solved it.

·       I’m proud of you for taking on such a hard project in class!

·       When you didn’t know how to do something, you asked until you learned how to do it.

A child hearing this can develop self-confidence, look forward to challenges, and take pride in his/her achievements even if something doesn’t work out as planned. This child understands that it’s the effort to achieve that is being supported, not any innate ability that is fixed. This child will keep trying, will find the answers and end up believing that they are in control of their own lives.

We at JMG SportsWise have taken the concept of Growth Mindset and applied it to coaching your kids. We hope to encourage grit and instill a sense of accomplishment through learning new skills.

Below are a a coulpe YouTube Videos by the author herself. Enjoy!

10 min Recap

45 min Google Talk


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Originally published: 2006

Author: Carol Dweck

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9780345472328