How Do Students With a Growth Mindset See Their Mistakes

Cute little girl with a growth mindset writing on blackboard

How Do Students With a Growth Mindset See Their Mistakes

When we’re young, some tend to believe that mistakes are bad and are somehow tied up with who they are and their self-worth. But when we grow older, we realize that mistakes are inevitable and that learning from them is essential to becoming successful.

This mindset is called a growth mindset. People who have a growth mindset are happier than those with a fixed mindset.

People with a growth mindset are willing to admit mistakes and try again. They believe that failure is just another step toward success.

They’re not afraid of making mistakes because they understand that mistakes are inevitable. And they’re happy because they know that they can learn from them.

If you want to be happier, adopt a growth mindset.

Students Who Think They Can Make Mistakes Will Be Happier

Free your mind written in chalk on the ground.

People were taught that it was better to avoid mistakes at all costs in the past. If you made a mistake, you would be punished for it. You’d be told off or even get in trouble.

This mindset is known as a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset see mistakes as something to be ashamed of. They think that they’ll look stupid if they make one.

And since they fear looking stupid, they never risk making any mistakes. Instead, they live in constant fear of being wrong.

If you want your students to be more resilient, encourage them to make mistakes.

Teach them how to deal with errors and help them overcome their fears.

It is a paradox.

Students who think they can make mistakes are happier than students who don’t believe they can make mistakes.

The happiness is because students who think they can make errors accept they are not perfect. This approach makes them less stressed about making mistakes.

On the other hand, students who do not think they can make mistakes often become anxious when they make an error. The anxiety causes them to worry about what others might think of them. And the anxiety leads to… you guessed it… the very mistakes they are concerned about making.

The solution?

Adopt a growth mindset.

Believe that you will make mistakes. You’ll still make mistakes. But this will help you to minimize your stress levels.

And it will also increase your happiness level.

So how do you develop a growth mindset?

First, identify whether or not you have one.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do I get upset if I make a mistake?

Do I let my mistakes affect me negatively?

Do I think that mistakes are a sign of weakness?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you probably have a fixed mindset. If you answered “no,” you probably have a growth mindset.

Now that you’ve identified your mindset let’s look at why AVOIDING a growth mindset can harm your chance for success.

Students Who Believe They Cannot Change Will Not Try New Things

College students studying plants at biology lesson at school

A growth mindset means believing in change.

But people who have a fixed mindset believe that things cannot change.

For example, someone with a fixed mindset believes that they have no control over their life.

They think that there’s nothing they can do to improve/herself.

Someone with a fixed mindset may even say something like this:

I’m stuck. There’s nothing I can do.


I’m always going to fail.

We all know how destructive this type of thinking can be.

It keeps us from trying new things. It prevents us from growing as individuals.

And it can lead to depression and anxiety.

A Growth Mindset Classroom encourages a student mindset that rewards effort and creativity over academic achievement, a.k.a. “getting it right.”

Reference Carol Dweck and Jo Boaler to learn more about brain activity and growth mindset activities related to math.

Why is it important to try new things? The world is constantly changing…and so should our mindsets.

We need to constantly challenge ourselves by trying new things to stay relevant and keep growing as people.

But most people avoid change. Why? Because they fear that they cannot control themselves.

They believe that they are incapable of managing their emotions and thoughts.

In addition, they think that they are too weak to change. So they decide to stick with what they already know.

But if you want to succeed, you must embrace change.

It would be best if you accepted that you might fail. And it would help if you allowed yourself to experiment.

Because if you don’t, you won’t be able to improve upon your weaknesses.

And constant, worry-free improvement is where a growth mindset comes into play.

The Self-Fulfiling Prophecy of Success

Happy woman smiling very excitedly.

Have you noticed that some students seem to learn at an ever-accelerating pace while others never seem to progress?

Some kids seem to pick up everything immediately. Others take years before they finally master anything.

There seems to be a correlation between how fast students learn and how much effort they put forth.

But why is this true?

I believe it’s because of a habit-belief loop that embraces a growth mindset. 

Students Who Believe They Can Improve Will Make Changes

Young student raising her hand in classroom

It all starts with the belief you CAN improve and that TO improve, something has to change.

If a student thinks her fate is sealed, she wouldn’t think twice before giving up.

But if a student believes that she can improve herself, she will be more likely to take action on tough tasks.

Remember the age-old adage: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

So understanding this wise saying, it’s easy for her to understand her present actions are delivering her current results.

If she wants to improve, she MUST do something different… and that means making changes in thinking and actions/activity.

Making changes to improve is valid in all aspects of life, not just in school. If you want something different, you must DO something different.

Students with a Growth mindset Believe that Failure Is Part of Success

A school room computer lab with rows of computers, three students.

Simply doing something different doesn’t guarantee success or even a step in the right direction towards your goal!

Failure is inevitable. But failure is also necessary.

When we fail, we have an opportunity to learn and grow from our setbacks.

You know there would have been many times you fell learning to walk and times you smashed food all over your face when you were learning how to feed yourself. Thomas Edison tried 1,000 ways to make a light bulb before he succeeded.

And Steve Jobs failed many times before Apple was born.

These failures led them to success.

When you fail, you get back on track. You make mistakes. You learn from those mistakes. And then you move forward.

When we make mistakes, we’re forced to confront our fears and doubts about ourselves and our decisions.

We’re forced to face our shortcomings and see them clearly. This is one reason why failing is so essential – it allows us to become better than we were yesterday.

**Key Takeaway** The improvement comes through accepting the failure, learning what went wrong, thinking about how to make a better decision and take better action toward our goal next time, and then TAKING that action!

A growth mindset says: I’m going to try something new. I’m going to fail. I’m going to learn from my mistakes. And I’ll eventually succeed. 

Students With A Growth Mentality Believe They Can Succeed

A teacher feeling proud while noticing their growth and development

The key difference between students with a fixed mindset and students with a growth mindset is their beliefs about themselves and their abilities.

People who embrace a growth mindset believe they can succeed.

They know they don’t always succeed, but they still strive to achieve their goals.

They believe that they can learn from their mistakes and keep trying until they succeed.

On the other hand, students with a fixed mindset believe they cannot succeed.

They may have high expectations of themselves, but they often feel like they’ve already failed.

They tend to give up easily and blame others for their failures.

You might say these students are “defeated” by their own expectations.

It’s that small belief that keeps the growth group trying new things, failing, and learning from the failures so they can try new things, etc.

This belief that they can succeed propels them forward through action and learning toward their goals and ultimately, success. 

The feeling of success reinforces the belief they can succeed, which brings motivation to the next project, assignment, or lesson.

This, in effect, becomes its own mini self-fulfilling prophecy.

They try until they succeed.

And through this taste of success learn that they should try new approaches, fail, learn and try new approaches again until they succeed.

Students with a Growth Mentality Take Responsibility for Their Mistakes

Students drawing complex equations on a glass chalkboard.

Taking responsibility for their own mistakes is the “secret sauce” that produces growth mentality results.

If they blame someone else or make excuses/deflect for a poor outcome, it shuts down any internal review on how to change. “There’s nothing I can do to make the outcome different, it wasn’t my fault.”

When this happens, if they are in the same position again, they will most likely make the same poor decision, because they didn’t accept responsibility for their part the first time!

When they take responsibility for their mistakes or misjudgment it opens them up to wonder how they can fix/improve/change to do things better next time.  

And this is how the self-fulfiling prophecy of success starts again.

  • They accept responsibility for their actions / mistakes
  • They believe that failure is part of success, so this mistake is part of the journey to success.
  • They believe they can succeed with a better outcomeSo…..
  • They believe they can improve… and make changes to their actions and decisions that will lead to success.

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