Updated: Apr 29
Does the way we think about ourselves and our abilities have the power to shape our lives? Absolutely. Dr. Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University well known for her work on mindset, came up with the terms “Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset”.
A growth mindset is the belief that your intelligence and talents can be developed over time through effort and persistence. A fixed mindset is the belief that your intelligence and talents are fixed traits - it’s the belief that you either “have it or you don’t”.
Our mind is a very powerful thing. What we believe about ourselves can either prevent us or allow us to develop new skills and achieve our goals.
Let’s take a deeper look into the differences between the two mindsets...
6 main differences between Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
1. Intelligence can be developed vs. Intelligence is fixed
Those with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed with time and experience but those with a fixed mindset seem to believe that an individual’s intelligence is limited to what they are born with. Individuals with a growth mindset recognize freedom in their thoughts and beliefs. They understand that intelligence differs from person to person but they also see that it is something that can be worked on. However, those with a fixed mindset are controlled by their beliefs and thoughts. They believe everyone has different levels of intelligence which cannot be modified by time, effort or persistence.
2. Embracing vs. Avoiding challenges
Individuals with a growth mindset are ever ready to tackle new challenges, to put what they know to the test and see how far they can go. They find pleasure in pursuing something out of their comfort zone to enhance their qualities and see this as an opportunity to grow further. Whereas, those with a fixed mindset rather pursue things that they are already good at, comfortable doing, something within their scope.
3. Persisting vs. Giving up in the face of obstacles
When faced with a dead end, someone with a growth mindset becomes more invested in figuring out a way through the obstacle but it is opposite with someone with a fixed mindset where they tend to find the easiest way out of the situation or just give up.
4. Effort vs. Results Oriented
Someone with a growth mindset believes that effort is the path to mastery. As such, they tend to put in extra time and effort in working towards their goals. They are also more focused on the process and tend to enjoy the journey of learning and trying out new things. On the flip side, someone with a fixed mindset tends to view effort as a sign of inadequacy. They are more focused on the outcome and have an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to succeeding.
5. Learning vs. Ignoring constructive criticism
Those who welcome, constantly seek and learn from the feedback they receive have understood the key aspect of having a growth mindset. They are excited to receive constructive feedback unlike someone who has a fixed mindset who tends to feel deterred by constructive feedback as they view it as evidence to what they lack instead of how they can use it to grow.
Someone with a growth mindset doesn’t view receiving feedback or criticism as an attack on their identity or a limitation of their abilities. Instead, they take a step back to evaluate the essence of the message and use the information as foundation to help them develop themselves better and improve their plan of action.
6. Being inspired vs. Being envious of others’ success
An individual with a growth mindset finds inspiration in others' success. They tend to analyse what made the other person successful and how they could implement those key elements into their own lives. However, someone with a fixed mindset tends to feel threatened by others' success.
So, now that you have a clearer understanding of the two mindsets, which mindset will you choose to cultivate for your life?
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