Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset: The Two Mindsets Explained


Undoubtedly, our minds are one of the most powerful things on Earth. The things you grow up telling yourself will likely form your personality in the long run. This brings us to the two kinds of mindsets people generally have, i.e., growth mindset vs fixed mindset.

Are you someone who loves challenges and doesn’t shy away from new experiments? Are you keener on developing new skills over your lifecycle? Or you’re simply someone who thinks intelligence and creativity are static entities that one’s born with? They can’t change significantly over time and are fixed traits.

These are the two mindsets we grow up with. This is the basis of Carol Dweck’s fixed vs. growth mindset work. She’s a world-renowned Stanford psychologist who writes:

‘For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life

Dweck’s study contradicts the widespread belief that your basic abilities are inborn and do not change over the course of your life. The study shows us the power of developing a growth mindset and how it works wonders for you.

Let’s first have a closer look at what these two mindsets entail:

What Is Fixed Mindset?

As the name implies, a fixed mindset is rooted in the belief that your basic talents are innate. You’re born with a certain amount of them, and that’s that.

People with a fixed mindset don’t try many new things out of fear of being criticized. Or merely because they don’t want to look dumb.  Very little effort is observed when modifying their current skill set.

What Is Growth Mindset?

Conversely, a person with a growth mindset will always be open to criticism. People with a growth mindset believe that their intelligence and learning grow with time. They realize that their effort has a direct impact on their success.

A growth mindset emphasizes that the essential qualities of a person are a starting point. These qualities can be further polished through effort and hard work.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

There is a long list of differences in growth mindset vs fixed mindset. Here are some of the core ones which show how they are poles apart:

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset
Focus is on consistency Focus is on continuous growth
Takes difficult situations as a challenge Takes difficult situations as growth opportunities
Often compare themselves to others and want to ‘look’ smart Embrace their weaknesses
Believes talent and intelligence is fixed Learns from criticism and feedback
Gives up easily Believes talent and intelligence can be developed through effort
Feels threatened by other people’s success Perseverance in case of setbacks
Feel threatened by other’s success Find inspiration in other’s success

So, this is basically the crux behind the growth mindset vs fixed mindset phenomenon. It depicts that success comes to those who put effort into their work. This is precisely why working on developing a growth mindset is essential.

Importance of Developing a Growth Mindset

For starters, it helps you grow. As Debbie Millman puts it:

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,”

It’s important to understand that the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves shape our personalities. Our life goals and what we do about them over time stem from this fundamental principle.

With that being said, the fixed ideas in your mind will stop you from bringing positive changes in your life.

On the other hand, having a growth mindset sets the foundation for defining your life goals. What do you want from life, and what prevents you from reaching your full potential?

Clearly, people with a growth mindset achieve more in life because of their perspective. They worry less about looking dumb in front of people and more about learning. They allow their minds to look for more opportunities to ‘grow’.

It is also important to note the significance of cultivating a growth mindset in your team. Project managers must work on planting the basic concept that mistakes are not harmful. They are a means of learning better ways to do things. Having a growth mindset is also one of the foundations of growth marketing and growth mindset vs fixed mindset mentality.

A project manager with a growth mindset should always focus more on employee mentoring rather than dictating.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

1. Work on developing new habits

First things first, start working on creating new routines and habits. Trust your talents and skills to help you pave the way for better opportunities. We know old habits die hard, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. As a starting point, identify what you should change to develop a growth mindset and focus more on opportunities.

2. Embrace challenges

Challenges are your new best friends. Don’t shy away from your weaknesses, as you’ll never overcome them like that. When working on a project, be on the lookout for new opportunities. Broaden your learning horizon and embrace what comes your way.

Play around with your goals and give yourself ample time to achieve them.

3. Become curious

As Albert Einstein says, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

To keep your focus on growth and learning, become curious. This is one of the most basic things that’ll help you transition easily from a fixed mindset to a growth one. Start questioning like a kid, and discover the new worlds that will unravel in front of you.

4. Stop seeking other’s approval

A person with a fixed mindset needs constant validation from other people. This is what you need to get rid of. Prioritize learning over approvals, and start taking criticism positively. Ask for feedback. It will improve your perspective on growth drastically and set you up for development like never before.

5. Learn from other people’s mistakes

If you keep comparing yourself with others, you’re signing up for destruction. Look up to people who have done it and learn from their mistakes. Rather than taking them as your contenders, take them as someone providing a valuable lesson to you.

6. Persist for longer

To develop a growth mindset, you need to have perseverance. Dedication towards a goal, without giving up on the way is a ladder to success. You should be able to overcome setbacks with optimism and give yourself the liberty to make mistakes.

Now, you might wonder how exactly you will figure out if you have a fixed or a growth mindset. We have something for that too.

How to Find Your Mindset Type

So, here’s the fun part. Apart from self-evaluation, there are ways you can find out your particular mindset. One of the ways is to take up an online mindset quiz.

The mindset quiz takes you through a series of questions directed toward self-analysis. Each question comes with choices that fit accurately with how you view your mindset. Usually, at the end of the quiz, you get a total score. This total score defines the exact category of a mindset you fall into.

Sound interesting, right?

You can take up an online mindset quiz to reveal your specific mindset now

Which mindset do you think you fall into? Fixed or growth? And why? Share your views with us in the comments below.

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