Search
  • Cambridge Tutoring

Life is not a game of cards: have a growth mindset!

Starting this blog was one of our New Year resolutions for 2021. In this blog we want to share some thoughts and tips about how to be more successful and happy in your life. We hope it inspires you. Let us know if you have suggestion for future posts!


Our first post is about the most essential thing you need in order to be successful and happy: a “growth mindset”, as opposed to a “fixed mindset”. To explain the importance of this psychological concept, we will contrast two fictitious persons: Kevin and Cindy.



Kevin has a “fixed mindset“. He believes unconciously that his character, his intelligence, his creativity, his strengths and weaknesses are “fixed”, that they define him as a person, and that they can’t be changed fundamentally. Kevin is strong in mathematics but unable to run for more than 1 kilometer. He thinks that he was born this way, as if he had been given just a few playing cards at birth, and perhaps not very good cards... He believes that life is a cards game, and that success will come from proving his mathematics “strengths” to others (playing his good cards), while hiding his sports “weaknessnes” (passing his turn to play when his cards aren’t good enough). Of course, with this mindset, every time he is confronted with a sports challenge, he will be anxious, thinking: “I’ve never been able to run, this will be a disaster”. But he will also be anxious every time he is confronted with a mathematics challenge: “Will I look smart of dumb to the teacher or other students?”, “Will I be accepted or rejected?”. Kevin may feel insecure inside himself, thinking that every challenge, every event in life, could prove that he is “a failure”. He may feel jealous that the cards he was given a long time ago aren’t good enough. But outside he may appear over-confident and arrogant, especially in mathematics class, as a way to protect his ego. People with a fixed mindset, like Kevin, usually don’t learn much during their lives, are anxious, jealous, annoying, and rarely achieve their dreams. They simply don’t believe it is possible for them to “win this game of cards”.


Cindy, on the contrary, has a “growth mindset”. Cindy is very good at photography, but she struggles to learn English. However, unlike Kevin, she doesn’t believes that her current personality and skills are “cards” that were given to her when she was born. She believes that they are simply starting points on which to build, and that everyone has a different starting point but the same ability to grow. Instead of avoiding an English conversation with a foreigner to avoid “looking stupid“, she will be looking forward to it, and be open to take any opportunity to read or write English with enthusiasm, focus, and confidence. She won’t take any mistake she makes as proofs that she is “a failure”, but instead she will have a sense of humour and use her mistakes to learn. Instead of measuring herself arrogantly against her friend Daffa who is bad at photography, she will also believe that Daffa can learn and improve, and she will share her enthusiasm with him to inspire him to put in the time and efforts to learn. People like Cindy usually learn a lot during their lives, are more fun to be around, are better friends, partners, and colleagues, and have more chance to achieve their dreams. They don’t believe that life is a game of cards, but instead that the only way to grow is an open mind, ambitious goals, regular training, and long-term efforts.


This is the mindset that we hope to communicate at Cambridge Tutoring. More to follow in our next posts!