Mindset: Working Harder Isn’t Always Enough

“Mindset” has made its way into our vernacular. It is the subject of popular podcasts, self-help books, and Google searches. Mindset is the concept that our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and how our lives unfold.

Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., developed the mindset theory in 1999. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck “shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.”

Generally speaking, there are two types of mindset: fixed and growth. Those with a fixed mindset believe that their talents are not inherently changeable over time; those with a growth mindset believe in their own potential if they make the effort.

The Canadian Journal of School Psychology in its recent article “I Just Have to Try Harder: Examining the Mindsets of Students with LD” suggests a third type of mindset: false growth mindset.

“False growth mindsets occur when individuals focus solely on the effort component of a growth mindset while overlooking the connection between effort and other important educational considerations like strategy enactment or mentorship (Dweck & Yeager, 2019). For example, when a student with LD struggles with reading comprehension, growth mindset needs to be enacted by focusing on effort and also equipping students with appropriate instruction and strategies that correspond to their learning needs.”


In other words, increased effort without appropriate strategies and support can wear a student down. How we think about our talents and abilities, and how hard we work do not always manifest academic success.

This is why we created Focus Collegiate, and specifically our Summer Cohort: to start to enact and engage strategies and supports that will prepare students who learn differently with the tools they will need to find success in college.

Our program is now available Virtually and in the greater Boston area!

Focus Collegiate provides innovative hands-on coaching for college students with learning differences, on campus and Virtually across the country.

College-bound with questions?