Growth mindset vs fixed mindset, what are the key differences?
Do you have a growth or fixed mindset? Can you change it?
These two concepts, the growth mindset, and fixed mindset have probably been a topic you have heard somewhere and wondered what does it mean?
And maybe even asked yourself, “do I have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset”? Perhaps you even wonder if one is better than the other?
As a person, you aren’t born with either mindset, rather you develop them over time, and it’s up to you to choose which one it will be: a fixed mindset or growth mindset.
Read on to discover the meaning of the fixed and growth mindset, see examples of both, and some differences between the two. By the end, you’ll firmly understand which mindset you have and what it means for you.
Doing a check on yourself to see which mindset you possess and if you don’t like it, it’s up to you to change that.
Let’s start with a face-off: growth mindset vs fixed mindset.
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What is a Fixed Mindset?
Carol Dweck, a researcher, is known to have done deep research on the two kinds of mindset, especially as regard college students.
Her research focuses on the two kinds of mindsets, what they mean and how it affects our overall wellbeing as humans.
She mentions a fixed mindset to be:
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
From what she mentioned, you can already see that having a fixed mindset, is like being on a pedestal and not moving.
With such a mindset, you are not willing to change or adapt. You are ok with where you are because you simply feel like it is comfortable.
You can say that having a fixed mindset means being in your comfort zone, and not being willing to move out of it.
If you look around you, or just look and listen to people and the way they talk, you can sense if they have a fixed mindset.
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Examples of What Fixed Mindset Thinking
You’ll commonly hear phrases with words like;
- “I can’t do that…”
- “What’s the use…?”
- “There is no need to do something else…”
- “I’m ok where I am…”
Phrases and words like this show that you are not willing to change or try anything new.
Like Carol Dweck said, “They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.”
If you are looking to try new things, see new places, meet new people and so on, it isn’t something you can do with a fixed mindset, and you have to change it.
Fine-tune your mindset and change it up to a growth mindset instead.
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What is a Growth Mindset?
Concerning a growth mindset, Carol Dweck mentions it as,
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
If you possess a growth mindset, you are on a journey of eternal education. What do I mean by that?
Simply put, you don’t see yourself as having just certain fixed traits, you are always learning, trying new things, eager to meet new people, embrace new cultures, learn new skills, and more. You are open to a lot of new things.
Like Dweck mentioned, you believe that even the most basic abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication.
Plus you have such a deep love for learning and adapting. A good example of a growth mindset is, “Graduating from college, and telling yourself that college isn’t the end of the learning process, but the starting point.”
You read books, go to seminars, listen to podcasts, watch Ted Talks, read journals, magazines, and so on. Just like how you can spot a person with a fixed mindset through their words, you can spot a person with a growth mindset as well.
Examples of What Growth Mindset Thinking
Some phrases and words which you may hear them use are:
- “Why don’t we try doing this another way?”
- “I am learning this new skill to help me with…”
- “That’s for the correction, I’ll do something about it…”
And so on.
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If you look around, at the most successful people in the world, the likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and others, they all have one thing in common: having a growth mindset.
Imagine if Elon Musk didn’t have a growth mindset, Tesla and SpaceX wouldn’t be where it is today. What about Amazon? Jeff was always willing to learn and adapt, and it showed in his company. Today, Amazon is the biggest e-commerce platform ever.
Having a growth mindset is essential for great success and accomplishment no matter what your definition of success is. The growth mindset takes you out of your comfort zone, and you take on risks and paths that you never even realized existed. To start on your journey, pick up books and indulge.
Now, to understand the two concepts better, you will see some good ole examples, including some practical real-life examples of having either the fixed mindset or the growth mindset.
Examples of a Fixed Mindset
Now that you’ve learned the definition of growth mindset vs fixed mindset, here are some examples. As you read each, ask yourself, do I think this way? Do I have a fixed mindset?
#1. “I can’t do it, it’s too hard“
Here, you have already given up, and aren’t looking for ways to solve the particular problem.
Your mind is closed to any new suggestions, and even if you listen to them, you won’t take them up.
As you don’t see them as solving anything or any problem. You see the problem as difficult, and if someone sees it as easy, you don’t see it the same way.
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#2. “I already know everything I need to“
This is the area where people attribute college graduation to the end of education when it should be the beginning.
You tell yourself that you have learned enough, and what you know will get you through. Learning a new skill isn’t an option, and you might see it as a waste of time.
Besides, what you don’t know won’t kill you right?
#3. “I can’t get started now, it’s too late“
Like the previous one, you think that you’re behind, that it’s too late for you. To you, you have gone so far in your career or life as you ever will. When in truth, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
That learning something new, doing something differently or even just starting seems like a burden.
You close your mind and blame whoever it is, for not allowing you to do more. With a fixed mindset, you’ll use any excuse, whether a lack of money, time, or experience to NOT try something.
The elderly are a victim of this, and they think they are not able to learn anymore but remember, Colonel Sanders started KFC in his 60’s. Keep that in mind.
#4. “This isn’t my fault, it’s yours”
Ah, yes. Nothing is ever your fault, is it?
You tend to blame whatever happens to you, even the littlest things on someone else, the government, your country, your boss, your friends, your family, etc.
Instead of owning up to your flaws and looking for ways to be better, you blame someone else for your mistakes. You perhaps also blame your lack of opportunities or failures on others or your circumstances in life.
So that you can feel righteous about yourself.
Does this sound like you? Do you have a fixed mindset?
#5. “I give up when it’s hard“
Everyone gets frustrated, no matter who you are, where you are, or how rich you are. Something will always be a trigger to you, but how you react to it is up to you.
Instead of seeing frustration as a way to give up, see it as an open door, an opportunity for you to solve a problem and grow a legacy. Don’t see frustrations as killers that make you give up, instead use them as fuel to keep going.
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#6. “I’m not good enough”
It is either I’m good or I’m not, and this no way around that. You don’t see yourself as growing and learning, you see yourself as either good or bad. You are either good at data entry, copywriting, content marketing or you are not.
There is no space for improvements of any sort. So, why try if you’ve already decided you suck at it, or you’re not good enough.
No one is magically an expert at anything, even geniuses have to work hard at their craft.
More Fixed Mindset Examples
Some other examples of fixed mindset thinking are:
- She’s so much more successful than I am, I can’t do this”
- “I won’t succeed, so why bother trying?”
- “Don’t correct me, I’m right”
- “It’s too hard, why should I try”
- “Better safe than sorry”
I could go on and on, on the various examples of a fixed mindset, and write a book about it, because it is never-ending.
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Real-Life Example of a Fixed Mindset
Do you remember Nokia? The technology company?
They were the giants of their time, but they are not around anymore, (although trying to make a comeback). Do you know why?
Because as the world kept changing and evolving fast, they didn’t follow up and they fell behind. Giants like Apple and Samsung took over, pushing them aside.
There was a moment when Nokia was being sold, and the CEO of the time made the statement “we didn’t do anything wrong, but we lost.”
That is a vivid example of how having a fixed mindset can be dangerous to you as a person, and even to your business.
If you want a change, you need to unclutter your mind and fill it with a growth mindset instead. This way you are open and ready to adapt and change.
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Examples of a Growth Mindset
Let’s continue exploring growth mindset vs fixed mindset with some examples of growth mindset thinking. As you read each of these, ask yourself “do I have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?”
#1. “I can fix this, I can find a solution”
Have a new problem that needs a solution? No problem. You are ready to uncover what caused the problem and find a solution to it.
Does it require research, interviews, writing articles, or any other thing, you are up and ready for it?
Sure it may take some time and energy, but you know that you are learning in the process, improving your skills, and being better at what you do, so you don’t mind at all.
You are willing to face any challenge and overcome it!
This is the power of a growth mindset. A new task isn’t a problem, instead, it’s a new challenge to try something new.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? Does this sound like you?
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#2. “I’m excited to learn this new skill”
One significant characteristic of a person with a growth mindset is that they are willing to learn and adapt.
They are listening to new podcasts, reading book after book, learning new skills, even if it’s for fun or just to indulge in your passion.
When you want to talk to them about something new, they are open to listening to advice. People with a growth mindset seek advice and take it well. They don’t see feedback, and though what you say may or may not make sense.
The world is changing, and they aren’t sitting on the sidelines watching. They are willing to adapt, to make the best of any new situation.
Instead, they are part of the people creating the change. They are the shark in the ocean, not the guppy, or at least willing to keep swimming.
#3. “Nothing stays the same, neither can I”
Remember Nokia? Don’t be like them and close your doors to change. Be open, forever open to change, whether you approve of such change or not.
Can you recall when cassette tapes were a thing? Now, all you need is Spotify. That is change at its core.
So, when change comes around, you are ready. Who knows, something else might come up and disrupt the tech industry and cause a new change.
A person with a growth mindset is ready to adapt to such change and use it to their advantage. They accept that change is part of life, and they embrace it.
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#4. “Thank you for your feedback”
An example of someone with a fixed mindset is that they hate to receive criticism. They don’t see it as a chance for growth but as a destroyer.
Don’t be that person. Receive criticism, (constructive criticism) with an open mind, look into it, and see how you can improve.
When you have a growth mindset, criticism doesn’t bring you down, it simply opens new roads for you to follow.
Accept it, understand it, and use it to your advantage.
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#5. “I’m ready for what comes next”
Why stay at the same job for 10 years when you can move around? Why speak only one language when you can learn another, and then another?
With a growth mindset, these new paths don’t scare you, they excite and drive you.
Let me use myself as an example for you here. I studied law for 6 years, and decided that I needed a change and moved to the field of content marketers and SEO specialists.
This wasn’t on my agenda years ago, but with the constant improvement in myself, I decided to leap into another industry.
Was it scary? Of course, but the fear is temporary and the reward and satisfaction I have gotten from it so far are unmatched.
Will I move to another industry soon? Sure, who knows, it might be sooner than expected. This is just showing you that no matter how many years you feel you have spent in a place, you can always move and do something else.
That is a Growth Mindset.
Besides these, there are so many more instances and examples out there for you to look out for.
Now, look at yourself and ask yourself the question.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset: Which Are You?
Do I have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?
It may seem like a simple question that you can just ignore, but reflecting on yourself and understanding yourself, you will see what mindset you have and what signs you show to prove it.
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Ready to look more on the positive side? To embrace the growth mindset? Get your FREE 20 Printable Positive Affirmations to help you embrace change and growth.
If you have realized the one you have, write the type of mindset you have in the comments below, whether it’s a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
And if it is fixed, do you like where you are or do you need a change? And if you have a growth mindset, what ways do you keep growing yourself?
I look forward to seeing your comments and I will reply.Do you have a growth or fixed mindset? Use these examples to find out which you have and learn how to develop a growth mindset. #Mindset #GrowthMindset #MindsetMatters
Growth mindset vs fixed mindset, which are you?
More About Guest Contributor
Emmanuella is a Fitness and Lifestyle who writes about ways in which you can take control of your life, grow and create the life you have been dreaming all day long about. When she isn’t training or behind her laptop, she has a book in one hand, and wine in another.
Last Updated on October 4, 2021
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