Inside Quest: Carol Dweck Interview Notes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Tom Bilyeu from Inside Quest sits down for an interview with Carol S. Dweck, an American psychologist and author of books, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and Self-theories. She is known for her work on the psychological trait of mindset which she explores with the concept of ‘Fixed Mindset’ and ‘Growth Mindset’ in her book. Dweck is the professor at the Standford University teaching Development Psychology, Self Theories, and What Is a Mindset and How Does it Work? as a part of the 2019-20 courses.

Carol Dweck was the guest on the Inside Quest show hosted by Tom Bilyeu where she discussed Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset, Attributes of a Growth Mindset, the Dual Voice, Working with Organizations, and Work in the Middle East.

Here are our takeaways from the conversation.


  • Carol Dweck did research with kids in the 1970s, a time before the birth of the self-esteem movement where she analyzed how kids when given a problem loved challenges and did not think of failure as being considered stupid
  • Her work with kids pushed her to discover the secret behind how and why kids are interested to learn even though they are challenged which ultimately gave birth to the Growth Mindset
  • According to Dweck, life is about the contribution one can make to society. Challenging yourself all the time and taking setbacks and turning it into valuable information is how one can ensure to get on the path to make a contribution.
  • Parents should stop appreciating their kids for their intelligence or smartness and instead appreciate the hard work and process to develop a Growth Mindset
  • Words like Hard work, Strategy, Focus, and Persistence all echo a Growth Mindset
  • Using the word ‘yet’ in a sentence can push one towards a Growth Mindset. For example, “I am not good at it, yet.”
  • Appreciate the struggle and stick to it because there is something valuable at the end of it
  • Fixed mindset people avoid unchartered territories for the fear of feeling and looking stupid
  • For a person who develops a Growth Mindset and tries to move away from a Fixed Mindset, there can be a dual voice in the head that can push him to favor the Fixed Mindset. But with analysis and sticking to the Growth Mindset, one can make the voice of the Growth Mindset louder than the voice of the Fixed Mindset.
  • A Fixed Mindset organization is where you’ll find a Culture of Geniuses whereas a Growth Mindset organization is where you’ll find a Culture of Development.
  • Carol Dweck is working with Jewish Israelis, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians in the West Bank to improve the situation in the Middle East by teaching them a general way of seeing different groups in the world that can result in a peaceful state of affairs.


  • “Life is about the contribution you make and knowing that when you look back you know you went for it.”
  • “There are so many things to learn from what doesn’t work out that helps you to be successful in the future.”
  • “All of us have unique things to contribute if we stick to what we’re doing.”
  • “Self-esteem is something completely different in the incremental system (Growth Mindset). It’s not an internal quality that is fed by easy successes and diminished by failures. It is a positive way of experiencing yourself when you’re fully engaged and are using your abilities to the utmost in the pursuit of something you value.”
  • “Self-esteem is not something you give to people by telling them about their high intelligence, it is something we equip them to get for themselves like teaching them to value learning over the appearance of smartness, to relish challenge and effort and to use errors as routes to mastery.”
  • “Don’t praise intelligence or talent, praise the process.”
  • “Struggle is something you’re doing for something you value.”
  • “If you’re not struggling with something, you’re not growing, you’re not living.”
  • “Many, many issues get solved by people who stick to something for a very long time and come to understand it in a new way.”


Carol Dweck believes that life is about the contribution that one makes to society by pursuing his/her dreams relentlessly. She recommends two steps to make sure to get on the path to making a contribution.

  1. Challenge yourself all the time
  2. Take setbacks and turn it into valuable information


In the Inside Quest Interview, Carol Dweck talks about turning failures into successes. She wants people to reflect on their past mistakes because that led them to where they are now and that they can learn a lot from the things that didn’t work out to be successful in the future.


Carol Dweck presents important distinguishes between the Fixed and Growth Mindset in the interview, insisting parents to empower their kids with a growth mindset.

The belief that traits like Intelligence and Abilities are fixed. The belief that traits like Intelligence and Abilities can be grown through effort, good teaching, and perseverance.
The goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look or feel stupid. The goal becomes to understand that traits can be developed and hence make an effort to work on it.
Praising kids with words like “You’re smart.” or “You’re intelligent.” tends to promote a Fixed Mindset. Praising kids with words like “You’re hardworking.” and appreciating the process tends to promote a Growth Mindset.

Watch Carol Dweck’s TED Talk on the power of believing that you can improve.


Here are some words to add to your vocabulary to push you towards a Growth Mindset.

  • Hard work
  • Strategy
  • Focus
  • Persistence


Carol Dweck insists parents use the word ‘yet’ to motivate their kids. However, we feel that this powerful word can be applied to anybody looking to improve their mindset.

Carol Dweck says that once you start using ‘yet’ in your sentences, you skyrocket your chances of moving towards a Growth Mindset.

For example, “I am not good at Basketball, yet.” is how you can ensure you focus on learning as the process to drive towards getting better at something, promoting Growth Mindset.


Tom Bilyeu from Inside Quest asks Carol Dweck how people can avoid feeling stupid which stops them from pursuing something different or new.

Carol Dweck says that it is the characteristic of the Fixed Mindset to feel stupid for attempting something new. A person with a Growth Mindset will love to be a novice again and learn new things.


Even a person who has practiced developing a Growth Mindset will have a voice of a Fixed Mindset stopping him/her from challenging things. This dual voice can be recognized and a Growth Mindset can be preferred over a Fixed Mindset.

With repeated conscious decision making, one can make the Growth Mindset voice louder and louder than the Fixed Mindset voice.


Carol Dweck has worked with Businesses where Business Leaders seek her advice on how to promote a Growth Mindset for themselves and for their employees.

Dweck sees a few differences in companies with a Fixed Mindset and companies with a Growth Mindset.

Looks like a culture of Geniuses. Looks like a culture of Development.
People always have a foot in the door and are looking for better opportunities. People are empowered in their work.
The company only talks about Innovation and Creativity. The company rewards Innovation, Creativity, and Collaboration.
The company keeps a lot of secrets from employees. The company doesn’t keep a lot of secrets from employees.

Dweck discovers a Growth Mindset employee with traits like challenging himself/herself, collaborating with people, and mentoring people.


In the Inside Quest interview, Carol Dweck mentions her work happening in the Middle East with Jewish Israelis, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinians in the West Bank.

She and her colleagues are working to teach the people a general way of seeing groups in the world and have preliminary results from their experiment that highlight the fact that after the teachings, the groups involved have,

  1. Liked each other better
  2. Significantly become more willing to entertain major compromises as a way to promote peace

However, these are only the initial stages and there is a lot of work to be done to ensure a peaceful state of affairs.


Carol Dweck continues to spread the message for people to adopt a Growth Mindset through her ongoing works and speeches at various places.


  1. Has addressed the United Nations
  2. Has met the Secretary of Education twice to talk about the Growth Mindset
  3. Has conducted Nation-wide studies and is working on a Growth Mindset program to disseminate to Teens
  4. Is writing and speaking about the Growth Mindset all the time
  5. Has worked with the Khan Academy to create courses to promote Growth Mindset in schools


We are believers in learning and making your life better through struggles, mistakes, learning from mistakes, collaborating with people, and sticking to your goals through thick and thin and we loved the talk on the Growth Mindset.

It is important that you understand that you can get better at anything if you put the time in to learn about it, collaborate with people, and work on it.