Do You Have a Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset?

The way we think about ourselves and our abilities can play a massive role in shaping our lives. Our perception of our intellect and talents can often dictate the way we feel, determine our habits, and affect our overall development.

When you define a growth mindset that grows as we inevitably do, you open up the door for more development, progress, and evolution as you navigate the world. Having a mindset that you assume will stay fixed in its current state, with intelligence that can never elevate, might lead you to believe if you’re not good at something now, you likely never will be.

How do you determine what makes a growth mindset? Learning to cultivate a growth mindset will create a more encouraging and positive outlook of learning and adaptability. This post will discuss the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, the benefits of a growth mindset, and how to change your mindset over time.

What is a Growth Mindset?

The term “growth mindset” was coined by psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University in a study to investigate why some individuals tend to fail and others succeed. Dweck described a growth mindset as one that views intelligence and skills as qualities that can be developed over time rather than God-given talents that only a select few possess.

This isn’t to suggest that certain variables do not bind those with a growth mindset. However, having a growth mindset allows people to believe their talents can be improved through disciplined effort and action. They recognize that setbacks can be an inevitable part of the learning process and often facilitate the growth aspect and increased motivation.

The idea of failing is seen as merely a temporary state that can aid in the process of learning, resiliency, and motivation.

So how can you tell if you have a growth mindset? Some common traits of those who adopt growth mindsets include:

  • Embracing learning as a life-long experience.
  • Belief that intelligence, qualities, and skills can continuously improve.
  • Putting in the effort to learn and grow and knowing it can lead to mastery.
  • Belief that failure is always temporary.
  • Openness to feedback and seeing its value
  • Embracing change.
  • Seeing success in others as inspiration and motivation.

What is a Fixed Mindset?

When a person adopts a fixed mindset, they believe that all of their talents, abilities, intelligence and other attributes are fixed. They think that we all are born with certain qualities that we carry through to adulthood and that they are unchanging.

Typically, fixed-minded individuals have an aversion to change, give up easily, keep a keen eye for hindrances, and feel threatened by the success of others. When you have a fixed mindset, you’re able to see intelligence and talent as something you can’t develop and rather see it as something you just “are.” If they believe that they are not one of these people, they won’t see how they someday can be.

It’s common for fixed-minded people to allow a negative way of thinking to take over their perceptions of failure and success, seeing no potential for growth and improvement if they fail at a particular task. Conversely, someone with a growth mindset could fail at the same task and determine it’s because they need more practice.

Fixed-minded people tend to believe that:

  • Individual traits cannot change.
  • Intelligence and talent are static traits.
  • Feedback is pointless, and receive it as criticism.
  • You can only avoid failure by avoiding challenges.
  • Successful people are intimidating.
  • Effort is also pointless and worthless.
  • Only people born with talent and intelligence can be successful.

Benefits of a Growth Mindset

Dr. Dweck’s studies suggest that adopting a growth mindset can positively affect self-motivation and, ultimately, performance. They also indicate that students who implement a growth mindset after learning about it tend to show increased levels of motivation and performance in their academics.

When fixed-minded individuals begin to open up to the idea that attributes and qualities can be learned and developed through sustained action and discipline, they begin to lead generally happier lives. Growth-minded people tend to experience much less anxiety, depression, and other psychological and behavioral issues.

Individuals with a growth mindset embrace failure and treat it as a learning experience, allowing them to adopt a more positive attitude, even in the face of challenges and adversity.

How Can You Develop a Growth Mindset?

According to Dweck’s research, fostering a growth mindset requires us to refrain from praising our talent or natural abilities when we succeed and instead give recognition to effort, persistence, and strategic thinking.

A reward should be given for improvement and learning, even if we experienced failure in the end. Noting what we did well and what we didn’t is crucial in developing a growth mindset.

While many fixed-minded individuals believe that your talents and abilities cannot change and evolve, the opposite is true according to science. Neurologists have indicated that as the brain continues to develop as we age, new neural pathways form. This leads to the growth of new connections while strengthening existing ones and ultimately creating an entirely new mindset.

Some ways individuals can transition from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset include:

  1. Understand that, scientifically, you have the ability to improve and develop a new mindset that can help you succeed.
  2. Reframe your negative thinking into positive thinking. Rather than saying to yourself, “I can’t do this,” try, “I can eventually do this if I keep practicing.”
  3. Reward your efforts and improvements rather than the outcome, whether you succeed or fail.
  4. Seek out constructive feedback for your effort to increase motivation.
  5. Embrace change and step out of your comfort zone.
  6. Accept failure as an inevitable part of the process.
  7. Commit to lifelong learning.
  8. View challenges as a facilitator of growth and an opportunity for improvement.

Final Thoughts

If you currently have a fixed mindset, it’s important to understand that you have the ability to change. Having a growth mindset is more than simply positive thinking; it recognizes that life is a continuous learning experience. With sustained effort and even the smallest improvements, you can develop the capabilities to succeed.

Author bio:

John Estafanous

John Estafanous As founder and CEO of RallyBright, John leveraged his experience in product development, team leadership, technology and marketing to help drive RallyBright’s rapid growth. RallyBright is a SaaS platform that helps business leaders and coaches build better teams. This is done by integrating behavioral science and data with proven professional development products that are built based on work with hundreds of teams and thousands of professionals.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.