Do You Have A Growth Or Fixed Mindset? by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

How you think about intelligence and talents directly impacts how you see your abilities and the abilities of those around you. In psychologist Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking work, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” the two types of mindsets are discussed and evaluated, showing people how to maximize their potential.

The two types of mindsets are the fixed mindset or the growth mindset. These mindsets are carried in all that we believe in about ourselves and others, and they occur on both a conscious level but also on a deeper level, in the unconscious mind.

Recognizing the type of mindset we have can help us to more effectively change the way we think about our abilities. This, in turn, allows us to grow and change over our life without being inhibited by limiting, negative, or minimizing types of thoughts.

The Fixed Mindset

With a fixed mindset, people believe that their natural intelligence, abilities and potential to reach the highest level is limited by what is fixed in their traits. In other words, they see character, ability, talents, and creativity as present at birth in a fixed and rigid form throughout life.

There are people that fixed mindset people see as “naturally smarter or more talented” than they are. While they may acknowledge there is some ability to increase talents and understanding, they do not see an opportunity to increase intelligence or ability. This can lead to avoidance of new opportunities and challenges, and a low level of effort for tasks they see as outside of their current level or status.

Some people label this a deterministic view, where the outcome is always determined by limiting factors. These individuals often are uncomfortable or threatened by others and tend to view criticism or correction as a threat.

People with a fixed mindset see themselves as striving for success in areas they know they can succeed and avoiding failure by staying in their comfort zone. They see failure as a negative and further reinforcement of their lack of natural abilities, intelligence, or talents.

The Growth Mindset 

The growth mindset is the opposite of the fixed mindset. It is a desire to continually improve and grow, and to do this through taking on challenges and seeing obstacles as an opportunity to try out new solutions and options.

In general, the growth mindset embraces lifelong learning, with effort and practice seen as key in developing new skills, talents, and abilities. People with the growth mindset are more open to criticism and see it as a way to develop, learning from setbacks and not just merely accepting a setback.

Typically, the growth mindset is also encouraged by others and recognizes the hard work and practice that others have used to reach their levels of success. They also see themselves, with the right effort, learning, and practice, as going as far as they want to go, without any limitations or restrictions.

Having a growth mindset is releasing yourself from limitation. It is about not only achieving all you want in life, but it is also in encouraging, motivating and supporting those around you to do the same.