Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset

Many of you may have heard the popular buzzwords going around of fixed-mindset and growth-mindset, but, what exactly do they mean? Well, first we should start from the beginning and explain where they came from. Renowned Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck wrote in her book “Mindset” that it’s not talent, education, or intelligence that determines a person’s success but rather their mindset or the way they approach life’s challenges. According to Dweck, people either have a fixed or a growth mindset, and the one you adopt can affect every aspect of your life. 

So, now that we know where the idea came from, let’s discuss the differences. A fixed mindset means we believe that our skills, intelligence, general qualities, and talents are fixed traits that cannot be changed. This mindset can often result in resistance to learning or attempts to improve our skills and abilities. A person with a fixed mindset might say something like “I believe that my intelligence is inherent and status. My potential was determined at birth and cannot change”. Those with fixed mindsets often feel threatened by others’ success, view feedback as personal criticism, and may avoid challenges.

On the other hand, a growth mindset means we believe that our skills, talents, and general qualities have the capacity to grow and can be improved by hard work and persistence. This mindset results in a positive attitude towards both learning and critical feedback. People with a growth mindset are also generally more open to trying new things. Someone with a growth mindset might say “I believe that my character can be continually developed. My true potential is unknown and unknowable”. People with growth mindsets believe that effort is a path to growth, mistakes are a part of learning, and failure is temporary. 

Are you looking for ways to activate your own growth mindset? Check out the list of questions below and be mindful of your responses.

  • What can I learn from this?
  • What steps can I take to help me succeed?
  • Do I know the outcome or goal I’m after?
  • What information can I gather? And from where?
  • Where can I get constructive feedback?
  • What did I learn today?
  • What mistake did I make that taught me something?
  • Is my current learning strategy working? If not, how can I change it?