Changing Your Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset

Catherine Thrasher-Carroll Catherine Thrasher-Carroll, mental health promotion program director at Cornell Health’s Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, spoke on how to develop a growth mindset to achieve success in graduate school and beyond.

Mindset is an attitude that determines how we interpret and respond to situations. On the mindset continuum, fixed mindset is on one side and growth on the other. A person with a fixed mindset is focused on being perfect, is afraid of change, and believes that abilities are innate and set-in-place. A person with a growth mindset is continuously learning, willing to try new things, and believes that abilities are malleable. A person with a fixed mindset might think “I’m not as good as my peers, so I’m just going to quit.” A person with a growth mindset will think “I’m going to figure out what my peers are doing differently and try that.” 

Five skills to practice to help you develop a growth mindset: 

  1. Be deliberate: Commit to learning skills through continued practice. 
  2. Be vulnerable: Approach a situation with the mindset of getting better rather than looking good. 
  3. Go all-in: Put in the time and effort. 
  4. Keep a loose-grip attitude: Don’t be too attached to the outcome.  
  5. Create a mistake-opportunity ritual: Use a physical gesture, like a deep breath, to rethink a situation and focus on more constructive thoughts.

Read more tips and takeaways from Graduate School programs.