Growth Mindsets

Tough Mudder for Brains

Last week, I registered for my first ever Tough Mudder Challenge (Yikes!), and I have been working my buns off training for it. Even though it is in June, I started a workout schedule in January. It has been an incredible experience watching my muscles grow and the workouts get easier with every passing day. I am the fittest I have ever been, and I love the feeling of getting my muscles getting stronger.

But did you know our brains work the same way?

Psychologist Carol Dweck claims that brains can be excersized just like a muscle, and just as I have been getting stronger, our brains get stronger too. She breaks our mentality into two categories:

fixed mindset

A fixed mindset says “I can’t do it,” “I wasn’t born to do math,” and “I will never be able to understand this”. It is the way of thinking that hinders our ability to learn, that keeps us believing that we can either do something or we can’t. Characteristics of a fixed midsets may include comparing your work to someone else’s, focus on ranking and grades, giving up, and not accepting feedback well.


growth mindset

A growth mindset says “I can’t do this yet,” “I need to keep trying,” and “I could feel my brain get stronger while I struggled through that challenge”. It is the way of thinking that motivates us to keep learning and trying, no matter how good we get or how difficult the task may be. Characteristics of a fixed mindset may include value over written and verbal feedback as opposed to grades, excitement over revision, not giving up, and pride over the learning process rather than the result.


Remember! The only way to have a growth mindset is by training your brain to have a growth mindset. As soon as you begin learning about it, you can start implementing it. Happy learning!


If you want to learn more, I definitely recommend checking out Carol Dweck’s TED Talk, or any of my other posts tagged “growth mindsets”.


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