At Brainscape, we are dedicated to helping students consistently improve and grow. We do this in part by speeding up the learning process and optimizing knowledge retention. But we also know that the psychological factors can influence success just as much as study tools.

That is why we often write about psychological approaches to studying, like the keys to good study habits, the benefits of self assessment, or (our favorite) the best way to find motivation when you want to procrastinate.

And one thing that we've discovered to be consistently critical in any endeavor is your success mindset. While developing a true mindset for success may be a personal endeavor, there are certain universal factors that help you get in the right mindset to succeed.

In this article, we want to share with you the most important tactic for developing a success mindset.

How do you develop a success mindset?

Man in city with success mindset
Want to develop a success mindset? Here's how.

Fixed vs. growth mindset

According to recent studies, there are two main ways we respond to setbacks: with a fixed mindset or with a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that a person’s traits, abilities, and personalities are pretty much fixed. While obviously we can develop our skills in an area, there is a limit on how much we can improve. People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that our traits, abilities, and personalities can always be developed more. Our skills have no limit with enough practice and effort, no matter how badly we start out.

Science has shown that success is almost impossible without a growth mindset. Psychologically, we cannot overcome the challenges we face in any task without the inherent belief that we have the potential to change. This may not come as a surprise to anyone who has read any self-help advice, as the basic concept of believing in yourself is the backbone of most success tips. Now we simply know the psychological trigger behind this truth.

Developing a growth mindset

Luckily, there are techniques we can use to develop a growth mindset, even if we are more naturally prone to a fixed mindset. Simply knowing the science behind the mindset of success is an important first step. If you are looking to take the next step and really master the growth mindset, this video by Bite Size Psych can really help you get started.

It is also critical to remember that all success is the result of tons of hard work, pain, sacrifice, and disappointment that continually strengthens your will and skills. Check out our list of famous people who overcame failure, or just check out Brainscape's "About Us" page, which is all about pushing yourself to overcome fierce resistance.

We hope that you will take this advice to heart, because this one simple adjustment for a success mindset can have a huge impact on your future.

[And if you're looking for ways to find the right motivation to study tons of information, check out our guide learning how to manipulate yourself into studying when you feel like procrastinating.]


Dweck, C. (2015). Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), 20-24.

Dweck, C. S. & Yeager, D. S. (2019). Mindsets: A view from two eras. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(3), 481-496.

Haimovitz, K. & Dweck, C. S. (2017). The origins of children's growth and fixed mindsets: New research and a new proposal. Child Development, 88(6), 1849-1859.

McCarthy, C. (2019). Focus on growth mindset leads to success. College Athletics and the Law, 16(9), 12-12.