Carol Dweck is an American psychologist. She helped discover that one hour of training can increase test scores as much as one year with a good teacher.

How does it work? By changing beliefs.


Students with a “fixed mindset” believe they are born smart or not. But after training in a “growth mindset”, they understand the brain is like a muscle that grows stronger with training.

Why does it work? The answer is in your brain.



Imagine you are photographing an ocean sunset. Should you focus on the sun? The sky? The water? Your frame determines what you see.

Like a photographer, your brain is constantly filtering reality using mental frames. It keeps what’s in the frame. It throws out the rest.

For example, your retina filters the infinity of reality down to 130 million photoreceptors. Next, your optic nerve filters down to 1 million fibers. Finally, your short-term memory filters down to a few things. Overall, researchers have found that this filtering process is influenced by your focus.

In other words, your mental frames can literally determine what you see. And some frames are more useful than others.

There are three words I like to repeat to myself: glass half full. Just to remind myself to be grateful for everything I have.

-Goldie Hawn


It is fast and easy to reprogram your brain:

In his book Reframe Your Brain: The User Interface for Happiness and Success, Scott Adams describes 160 reframes for improving your life. Here are examples.


Usual frame: I fail at 90% of the things I try.

Reframe: I only need to succeed 10% of the time.

Usual frame: The effort is so big and daunting I can’t even start.

Reframe: What’s the smallest thing I can do that moves me in the right direction?

Mental health

Usual frame: Social media is a form of entertainment.

Reframe: Social media is an addiction.

Usual frame: My stress and anxiety are caused by events in my life.

Reframe: I won’t care about any of those events on my deathbed.

Weight loss

Usual frame: Sugar is delicious, but don’t overdo it.

Reframe: Sugar is poison.

Usual frame: I’m hungry, so I need food.

Reframe: I’m hungry, so I need protein.

Social skills

Usual frame: People are rational 90% of the time.

Reframe: People are rational 10% of the time if that.

Usual frame: Others think and feel approximately as I do.

Reframe: Others are unimaginably different.

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

-Henry Ford

Upgrade your software

What would you like to change about yourself? What annoys you? What makes you unhappy? These are opportunities to reframe your brain.

A good way to brainstorm reframes is to imagine how the smartest and most aware people you know would approach a given situation. If you have a sense for how those people view the world, you can start seeing it through their eyes.

-Scott Adams


Dweck CS. (2019). The choice to make a difference. Perspect Psychol Sci. 14(1): 21–25.

Burnette JL et al. (2023). A systematic review and meta-analysis of growth mindset interventions: For whom, how, and why might such interventions work? Psychol Bull. 149(3–4): 174–205.

Kim US et al. (2021). Retinal ganglion cells—Diversity of cell types and clinical relevance. Front Neurol. 12: 661938.

Lockhofen DEL, Mulert C. (2021). Neurochemistry of visual attention. Front Neurosci. 15: 643597.

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