Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Mindset is the view you adopt, which determines how you live your life, see the world and make decisions. In other words, it is your perspective or your view of the world, beliefs about your abilities and characteristics that form how you do things or see things.

Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Carol Dweck, relates in her insightful book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library), there are two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. These mindsets are what we consider to be our personality - our natural attitude or mental state.

Growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can grow with time and experience.

Those who have a growth mindset believe that their efforts influence their success and that, with persistence, they can learn and develop their skills. They consider their basic abilities as a starting point for their true abilities. The growth mindset creates a passion for learning rather than a constant need for approval. With a growth mindset, you can learn and accomplish more.

Some common growth mindset thoughts include:

  • I can always become better at something through practice.

  • Whenever I need to learn something, I can do it.

  • I see failures as opportunities to learn, to reassess, and to do better next time.

  • I can always do better at something if I want to, but it will take effort.

  • Determination and effort are what determine my success.

  • I enjoy learning, and it is a lifetime pursuit for me.

By contrast, a fixed mindset suggests our character, creativity, and intelligence are traits that cannot be changed. Those with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are inherent and they will only ever possess a certain amount of them.

Some common fixed mindset thoughts include:

  • There is no point in trying if I am going to fail.

  • I always struggle with ...

  • Either I am good at something, or I am not.

  • It is hard for me to lose weight.

  • I can not learn now; it's too late.

  • I am a procrastinator.

  • I am not creative.

There are key differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Challenge is one of them. A person with a fixed mindset will shy away from a challenge, often from fear of failure. They may go into hiding to avoid responsibilities.

The growth mindset allows a person to be excited by challenges. They find them engaging and a key in learning something valuable from their experiences. They master the challenge and move to greater accomplishments.

Another key difference is in how each faces mistakes and feedback. A person with a fixed mindset is embarrassed by making mistakes and gives up quickly. They blame others or become defensive when criticized.

The growth mindset person sees mistakes as a learning lesson. They are less likely to take criticism personally, believing it helps improve their ability to do better next time.

If you find you have a fixed mindset and you genuinely want to change, you can.

It will take practice, determination, being more aware of your thoughts, and anticipating what reactions you are likely to have to situations. With effort, you will benefit by having a more open, growth mindset that can lead to success in every area of your life.

You can achieve extraordinary changes by committing to take one small step at a time.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. ” Joshua J. Marine

I empower my clients to take control of their health. No matter the challenges, we work together to find the ideal path forward. If you have any questions, please do get in touch with me here.

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