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Power of Believing You Can Improve

goals self-help self-talk Jan 09, 2024

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford

If you’ve ever read or heard anything about “mindset” it was likely referencing the work of psychologist Carol Dweck, known for her 2007 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In it she describes the differences between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.”



Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset


Intelligence and abilities are fixed traits

Intelligence and abilities can be developed through learning, effort, and perseverance

Response to Challenges

Tendency to avoid challenges to maintain the appearance of being smart; fear of failure

Chooses to see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow


Views effort as a weakness because it shows inability; gives up easily

Sees effort as positive and essential for learning; doesn’t give up

Response to Criticism

Take criticism personally; defensive and resistant to feedback

Views criticism as constructive feedback for improvement; open to learning from it

Success of Others

Feels threatened by the success of others

Celebrates the success of others; sees it as an opportunity to learn and be inspired

Much of her research and examples are with school children, but the principles she uncovered can be applied to anyone at any age or stage of life. Watch her TED talk here.

Elon Musk serves as a living example of the power of a growth mindset. Musk’s history is filled with achievements that defied skeptics. From creating, an online banking company that evolved into PayPal, to reinvesting earnings into groundbreaking ventures like Tesla and SpaceX, Musk epitomizes the growth mindset. For an example of a fixed mindset company, take a look at Blockbuster as Netflix made its debut.

Chances are if you are reading this, you possess a growth mindset. You are seeking solutions to improve your life and you are open to uncovering any “fixed mindsets” lurking around.

How can we make the most of this power to believe that you can improve?

1. Self-awareness:
• Evaluate your language. “I’ve always done it that way.” or “I’m open to trying it that way.”
• Reflect on your beliefs about intelligence and abilities. “I’m not good at math.” or “I can learn anything I set my mind to.”

2. Embrace challenges:
• Assess how you handle challenging situations. “I can’t do that.” Or “I can’t do that yet.”
• Do you see challenges as obstacles or opportunities?

3. Effort and persistence:
• Do you see success as evidence of “talent” or “effort and perseverance?”
• Do you give up easily or do you push through?

4. Learning from criticism:
• How do you react when given “feedback”?

5. Encourage a growth mindset in others:
• Do you praise talent or effort? “You’re so smart.” or “You stuck with your goal and you did the work”

6. Promote a culture of learning:
• Do you focus on the journey or on the result?

Carol Dweck’s research demonstrates the power in believing that we can grow. Shifting your mindset about your vision, goals, habits can go a long way in helping you achieve them.

I believe you can. Do you?