Dr. Carol Dweck cites a New York Times article that references when failure becomes transformed from an action (I failed) to an identify (I am a failure) we are in the fixed mindset.
Failure for our students who display a fixed mindset is something that is always remembered, and will often times prevent them from opportunities. When our students are afraid of failing, they will often times not take risks, such as participating in an academic competition. If he or she is already the best speller in class, why enter a competition and risk losing (failing)?
Students who choose a growth mindset are still affected by failure, but they learn from it. The student choosing a growth mindset would enter the spelling competition and when he or she lost, approach the winner and learn about the strategy that was used. If a student who chooses a growth mindset fails a test, he or she analyzes the errors that were made, and studies to ensure not making that same mistake.
Through research, scientists have learned that we can actually help our brain grow based on how we process failures. When we learn from our mistakes, as growth mindset people do, we become more intelligent.