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Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking work on a growth mindset for learning success is still is as relevant as ever because it’s central to our ‘learning to learn’ mentality and to developing grit. This is the first article in our Growth Mindset series.

We invite you to run yourself through the following reflections. Answer them honestly to see where your mindset is at and keep a note of your answers to each.


  1. I know that when I fail, it’s just an opportunity to learn from my mistakes so I can improve my performance.
  2. When I think I’m likely to fail I avoid the challenge.
  3. When someone does better than me at something I’m good at, I feel unsure about my abilities.
  4. My basic level of intelligence is fixed and no amount of effort will change that.
  5. When I’m given some feedback I can feel defensive.
  6. Although I can learn new things, if I’m not naturally talented I’ll never be really good at them.
  7. People who are really good at maths are born with that ability.
  8. If I put the effort in and keep trying, I believe I can substantially increase my intelligence.
  9. When I’m given some feedback I use it to improve my performance.
  10. When someone is more skilled at something than me, I learn everything I can from them to increase my own performance.
  11. I don’t feel stupid if I don’t get something immediately. I know I’ll improve with effort.
  12. I can improve all areas of my life by developing my strengths and abilities.
  13. I celebrate my successes and recognise all of the effort and perseverance that helps me to achieve my goals.
  14. When I approach a new challenge, I remember other times that my hard work resulted in success.

A growth mindset for learning success


If you answered:

  • ‘True’ for 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 then you’re on track. These are all characteristics of a growth mindset.
  • ‘True’ for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 you should be aware that these are all characteristics of a fixed mindset.

Of course, we’re all a bit of both and it does depend on the context of the situation. However, working on strengthening your growth mindset beliefs will help to boost both your own perspective on learning and that of others in your whānau.


Pick one of the growth mindset statements to keep front of mind. Then collect evidence of its truth as you reflect on life experiences, past and present.

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