The right mindset: do you have a fixed or a growth mindset?

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Deel de kennis:

After you have established a structure, you can start looking at a growth mindset. But how exactly does this work? And what exactly is a growth mindset?

So what is a growth mindset?

People who stand behind – or who have – a growth mindset, feel that your abilities can improve. Everyone progresses at their own level. With the right guidance and commitment, everyone is able to expand their knowledge and capabilities. 

Someone with a growth mindset can benefit from feedback and criticism. It’s unclear where someone’s abilities end and where the limit of learning lies.

A growth mindset is at heart of a growth strategy. In addition, this is closely related to hiring the right people and ensuring that they go through a good onboarding process. By onboarding, we mean that new employees are trained in such a way that they feel part of the team in no time, and they master knowledge and skills that are a good fit for the organization. As a company you should provide an onboarding document and clear house rules. In addition, you create a learning culture and provide the new but also current employees with feedback so that they also experience personal growth.

What is a fixed mindset?

People with a fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are fixed, according to Carol Dweck, writer of ‘The New Psychology of Success. The moment you do something successful, you have talent for it. 

People with a fixed mindset believe that you should avoid the things you’re not good at, so you don’t make mistakes and don’t get negative feedback. This equally threatens the success of others. Perfectionism or a fear of failure can both play a role in preventing new experiences: someone immediately gives up. Confirmation of someone’s intelligence or personality is sought as a result of this relative uncertainty: they occasionally strive to appear smart and certainly do not want to appear foolish. 

The difference between a fixed and a growth mindset

As mentioned earlier in this chapter, you cannot hack growth if you don’t have the right mindset. We have illustrated the difference with a fixed mindset below on the basis of two main characteristics and four so-called ingredients for growth.



Growth mindset

Static mindset


Capacities are developable. Encourage challenges to develop ourselves. Capacities are fixed, you have what you have

A confrontation with a challenge shows that you cannot do something, so we prefer to avoid it.


Focus is on learning, getting better every day. Making mistakes is part of that. Focus is on the end result.

We want to make sure in advance that it will work. Making mistakes is proof of incompetence.


Perseverance is necessary to progress. Extra effort is fun and persistence is the key to success.

Keeping up is pointless and a waste of energy. If it is not easy, then it is better not to start at all.


Feedback is beautiful and important to receive and necessary to learn.

Feedback quickly feels like a personal attack and evokes defense mechanisms.

Nature & Nurture

The above-mentioned mindsets are quite black-and-white. In practice, the majority of recent studies demonstrate that intelligence is a combination of Nature (innate, fixed) and Nurture (environmental factors) (learned, environment, growth). People can grow themselves, but some people will find it easier than others (Dweck, 2007). This should not appear to be a unique fact at this point, but it is not often apparent to students.

The importance of a Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset has a positive effect on students. Research shows that (Walters, 2015):

  • Developing a growth mindset can improve performance. ((Blackwell et al., 2007; Yeager and Dweck, 2012; Good, Aronson, & Inzlicht, 2003).
  • Growth mindedness ensures that students use deep learning skills (critical thinking, collaboration; softkills, 21st century skills) and thus recover more easily from achieving a low grade (Grant and Dweck, 2003).
  • The performance difference between students with a growth mindset becomes smaller or disappears. In other words, stereotyped groups that normally performed worse (think boys, think disadvantaged groups) were more aligned with the rest. Stereotyping is thus broken. (Aronson et al., 2002; Blackwell et al., 2007; Good et al., 2003).

To attain the aforementioned, students must believe that they are capable of self-development – they must have a growth mindset. This seems reasonable, but students frequently exclaim, ”I can’t do that” or ”I’m never good at it”. This can be a deterrent to learning (Masters, 2013). This is especially true for VMBO students, as they are accustomed to falling behind in term of cognition in elementary school.

The true failure

Mastering the right tools or skills does not ensure that you can immediately be appointed as a growth hacker. Without the above mindset, that will fade away quite quickly. As important as knowing your way around tools is, it’s the mindset you have to master best, and apply it to everything.

Failure does not exist.

You can think of every failed experiment as wasted money, but look at it this way. An experiment in which your hypothesis cannot be validated has not necessarily failed. Failure actually stands for learning. You can use the information as valuable. It is not wrong to know what is not working. Use this, process it in your wall of failure and get action points from it.

Growth Mindset Apps

Almost everyone, worldwide, uses their phone every day. So why not implement the growth mindset theory in our every day life, and in our phones! 

The Growth Mindset

The app The Growth Mindset, available in the Google Playstore, allow you to help develop a growth mindset, why this mindset matters and the importance of the growth mindset in life. In addition, the app learns you how you can take appropiate actions to learn and stay motivated, the importance of failure and how to deal with setbacks!

With an average of 4.8/5.0 stars, the app promises only good things.

Growth Mindset Guide

The app Growth Mindset Guide, available on iOS, teaches the users 3 simple lessons and activities to improve your mindset. 

The software takes an evidence-based approach to teaching you about fixed and growth mindsets, as well as how to use the latter in your life. 

These abilities can be applied in the classroom, in work, and in other situations. Ultimately, this app will assist you in investigating the science and practicality of the concept that ‘you can learn anything’.

The 3 courses are:

  • Module 1. The Growth Mindset
  • Module 2. The Truth About Your Brain
  • Module 3. Learning From Our Mistakes

Get a growth mindset

  1. Let yourself be successful. Learning becomes more enjoyable, you become more involved, and you get self-confidence as a result! Please keep in mind that a successful experience is only valuable if it adds value to your life. 
  2.  Create a risk-free environment for yourself. Value yourself for taking on a challenge, learning and striving for perfection: making mistakes is okay; it only makes you better.
  3. Give yourself feedback about the process. 
  4. Brain Training. The brain is always changing. Teach yourself about the workings of the brain and how you can impact it. You can gain an understanding of the existence of a growth mindset by being taught about it. 

In conclusion

To conclude, a growth mindset allows people to feel free to learn and improve their knowledge and abilities. It’s a mindset that could lead your company to success. Instead of focussing on failure, focus on the progress.

Would you like to know more about the growth mindset? Don’t hesitate to contact Sprints & Sneakers!

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