Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

There are two types of mindset we can cultivate: one that embraces problems as opportunities to learn and one that avoids them often out of fear to fail. People that avoid conflicts can be described as having a fixed mindset. Those who see problems as interesting challenges have a growth mindset. Sometimes we like to switch from one to the other. People have a fixed mindset because they believe the basic qualities like intelligence or talents are fixed traits and that these traits are responsible for success.

They often like to document past achievements. With a growth mindset people believe that new abilities can be developed through practice. This view creates a love for learning the most great leaders and artists have in common. For them life becomes an exciting journey with endless opportunity to figure out new things and advance.


To develop a growth mindset Dr.

Carol Dweck the Stanford University professor who coined the term, advises leaders, teachers, and parents to celebrate trying. Teachers should applaud students for any grade if they studied hard. Parents should encourage their children to develop any new skill they are interested in. Doing this will make them learn the skill of learning which will also help them back in the classroom. To illustrate the difference in everyday life let’s observe two imaginary kids: Jay thinks you’ve either got it or you haven’t.

Ann knows that she can learn anything if she wants it enough.

At physical exercise Jay avoid challenges when it’s time to jump over the vaulting horse he’s afraid to look stupid and being laughed at. Ann embraces any challenge. It’s exciting and fun! She knows that failing is part of learning and if she tries hard, at the end nobody will laugh at her.

Jay avoids feedback. If the teacher tells him how to improve an assignment he has been working on he takes it personally. Ann knows that to improve she needs to listen to constructive criticism. She also understands that it’s not her that is being assessed but the results of her work on that one day. Jay always takes the easy road.

For example, he likes escalators and hates to take the stairs.

When he is practicing the guitar he stops the moment he is getting stuck. Ann usually doesn’t even take escalators, she jumps up the stairs counting every step in her head and enjoys feeling the blood rushing through her veins. She practices the drums every morning for 15 minutes. Not that she always enjoys it, but she knows that effort is part of a journey to a more fun life.

Ann likes to see others succeed, it inspires her. She knows that if she motivates her friends to get better she herself is likely to grow too. If his friends try new things and succeed Jay feels threatened. He’s afraid that their success will put pressure on him to do more with his life too. Modern companies look for employees with the growth mindset because they solve problems and persist despite obstacles.

To spot the right ones, some asked during the interview whether the job applicant believes if managers are born or if management is a skill learned. Jay thinks that managers are born. Ann gets the job.

Neuroscientist support the idea. They confirm that the brain grows like any other muscle in the body with training.

Studies show that adopted twins tend to have higher intelligence Compared to their siblings who stayed with their biological parents. The difference appears to come from the higher educational levels of adoptive parents and shows that nurture is more important than nature. A simple switch in how a person views a situation can mean the world of difference. Not just the outcome of that situation, the outcome of that person’s place in life. As the late poet Samuel Beckett once said: Ever tried.

Ever failed No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. What do you think about the concept?

Is it overly simplistic? And if you buy the idea, do you believe it is possible to make a permanent switch from a fixed to a growth mindset? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!


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