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Shreya Kabir


Do you think that no matter how much hard you work in your preparation; still there will be someone more intelligent to beat your hard work? Or,

Do you believe that your constant efforts to the most of your potential will help you sail through this examination?

Whether you belong to the former category or in the latter, the difference between both lies, in the ‘difference of mind-sets’.

A renowned Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck known for her work on the mind-set psychological trait, introduced in her famous book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, the concept of “fixed mindset Vs. growth mindset”. She claims a visible difference in the quality of life, work and relationships that people from both the factions hold.

To begin with, mindset is the established set of attitudes and beliefs that one might possess.

According to Dweck, people (for our purpose, especially students) with fixed mindset believe that, they have a fixed amount and set of intelligence, creativity, abilities and talents. They believe that they cannot do much to change their results because of their fixed potential and hence, end up living up to the ‘fixed’ set of potential they have. They don’t take up many challenges due to the chances of failure involved. On the contrary, people with growth mindset believe that with practice and work, they can achieve better results and that their abilities can be enhanced with consistent efforts and persistence.

How this difference does an impact on an individual?

Dweck in her research has found that, people with fixed mindset tend to prove themselves in the limited set of abilities they seem to possess. For example: Suppose that an aspirant with a fixed mindset believes that she is innately good with answer-writing. Then, maybe when she sits even for giving the mocks, she will already have her internal voice speaking that, she has to be good with her answers! Nothing less than her standards is acceptable! If she doesn’t write a good answer, she will be proved a failure in her eyes! Also, once she receives her mock answer-sheet with recommendations from the faculty, she will be less receptive to them. This is because she will feel that this is the best that she could’ve done and that any further scope of improvement is beyond her! Yes, people with fixed mindset often fall in the trap of proving themselves for what they are already known. And they are not able to fight the setbacks as they feel that, their efforts will not bring any change.

On the other hand, suppose that an aspirant has a growth mindset. She knows that there are people who are preparing since many years, then there are people who are more intelligent than her and that there are many areas that she needs to work upon. This might be over-whelming for her, but, it will not dampen the fire within her! This is because she believes that with time, with persistence, with her continuous efforts she will get better with each day even if, this progress is inch-by-inch. Similarly, if she sits for mocks and gets recommendations, she will take them with an open mind. She will know that by working on these recommendations she can improve her answer-writing skills.

Thus, aspirants with a growth mindset believe in the incremental or marginal development they can bring with their hard work.

Civil services examination requires one to be much more than being hard working! One needs to have the hunger for constant learning. One needs to know how to learn from their shortcomings. One needs to be resilient enough to face setbacks and still rise above them. One needs to believe in their hard work more than their talent and abilities. Above all one needs to have faith in their efforts because only then one might not get bogged down with the competitive world of CSE aspirants.

It is evident that, aspirants with growth mindset have better probability of sustaining through the arduous requirements of this examination! This means that before everything, a serious aspirant must develop this kind of mindset, which will make his/her preparation journey a conceivable and doable one! A learning experience!

So, which kind of aspirant are you? Growth or fixed?