Fixed mindset vs growth mindset

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset [The SIMPLE Shift that Makes All the Difference]

What do you think: Do you have basically the same personality your entire life or can you change drastically? Your answer to this question will reveal your mindset. Many mindset differences can be boiled down to one fundamental split: fixed mindset vs growth mindset.

Read on to explore:

  • What is a fixed mindset?
  • Key differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset
  • Examples of a fixed mindset
  • How to change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset

“The problem human beings face is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” — Michelangelo

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pinnable Fixed Mindset vs Growth mindset

What is a Fixed Mindset?

According to Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist and best-seling author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, there are two types of mindsets:  fixed mindset and growth mindset. These mindsets are rooted in our view of what most people call our personalities.

A fixed mindset is the mindset that assumes that our personality traits are fixed; that things like our character, creative ability, and intelligence are rigid and cannot be changed. People with a fixed mindset believe that your abilities are determined by what you are born with and that you will only ever have those certain characteristics.

People with a fixed mindset can be obsessed with appearing intelligent because they don’t think that intelligence is something that can be changed. That makes them fear appearing dumb to others because they believe that they will always look that way once others have seen them as unintelligent.

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

People with a growth mindset, however, believe that their abilities and intelligence can grow and change with time, effort, and experience. They believe that they can become smarter, that their efforts affect their success, and that with persistence, they can learn whatever they put their minds to.

If you have a growth mindset, you know that your basic abilities are only the starting point and don’t represent your true potential. A growth mindset creates a passion for learning and growth, rather than a constant need for approval and external recognition.

Fixed vs growth mindset visual

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset: Key Differences

Approach to Challenges

There are a few key differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The first one is how each mindset approaches a challenge.

Someone with a fixed mindset will shy away from a challenge, often because of fear of failure. This fear may even lead them to actively avoid responsibilities.

Someone with a fixed mindset is excited by challenges! They find them engaging and a way to learn new valuable things. They enjoy mastering the challenge and moving on to the next one.

Mistakes and Feedback

Another key difference is between fixed mindset and growth mindset is how an individual deals with mistakes and feedback. 

A person with a fixed mindset is embarrassed by mistakes. They may blame others or become defensive when they get criticized or a mistake is pointed out. 

Responding from a growth mindset looks like being open to criticism. A person with a growth mindset ses mistakes as a learning lesson. They are open to criticism because they know that it will help them do better next time

Examples of a Fixed Mindset

Some common examples of a fixed mindset include:

  • I’m either good at something or I’m not
  • I can’t learn now; it’s too late
  • I’m too old to learn that. It’s too hard for me
  • There’s no point in trying if I’m going to fail.
  • I always struggle with…
  • I’m a procrastinator
  • I’m not creative.

How to Change From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

With a growth mindset, these same common fixed mindset thoughts would change like this:

  • I’m either good at something or I’m not -> I can always become better at something through practice.
  • I can’t learn now; it’s too late -> I can learn whatever I want or need to, whenever I need to learn it.
  • I’m too old to learn that. It’s too hard for me-> I enjoy learning and growing, and learning is a lifetime pursuit for me.
  • There’s no point in trying if I’m going to fail. -> I see failures as opportunities to learn, to reassess, and to do better next time.
  • I always struggle with… -> I can get better at anything if I want to.
  • I’m a procrastinator -> Determination and effort are the measures of my outcomes
  • I’m not creative. -> I can develop my creative abilities
Changing fixed mindset thoughts into growth mindsets

You Can Change From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

If you find that you have been acting with a fixed mindset and you want to change that, you can! It won’t happen overnight. It will take time, practice, determination, and self-awareness. You can learn to become more aware of your own thoughts and learn to anticipate what reactions you are likely to have in certain situations.

This will help you develop a more open growth mindset that will support your success in every area of your life.

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