Fixed vs Growth Mindset - What do you have?



Have you heard of this before?

Over 30 years ago Dr Dweck's and her colleagues became interested in students' attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks.

After studying the behaviour of thousands of children, Dr Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

A fixed mindset thinks their potential has a limit. “I am not smart enough for that”

A growth mindset thinks they can learn, grow, try harder, apply themselves more and they can succeed in anything they set their mind to.

Task: Take a moment to think about your mindset. What do you say to yourself?

Do you say, “I will never achieve that”, “people like me don’t do that”, “you need to go to university to apply for that job”, “only smart people have their own businesses” name a few.


Do you say, “I can do that”, “I will take a course to learn the skills I need”, “I can create more time to achieve what I want to achieve”, “I will be a success, my business is amazing”?

Cultivating a fixed or growth mindset becomes even more important in children, teaching kids about malleable intelligence has a big impact on a child's mindset, and the feedback that you or their teachers give them can either encourage a child to choose a challenge and increase achievement or look for an easy way out. For example, studies on different kinds of praise have shown that telling children they are smart encourages a fixed mindset, whereas praising hard work and effort cultivates a growth mindset. When children have a growth mindset, they take on challenges and learn from them, therefore increasing their abilities and achievement.

What’s the best way to get started with your growth mindset revolution?

One way is to identify where you may have fixed mindset tendencies so that you can work to become more growth minded.

Take this Mindset Assessment I found to learn a little more whether you have a fixed, mixed or growth mindset….mine was spot on!

Here are a few ways to help, If you discover you have a FIXED mindset.

  1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”

As you approach a challenge, that voice might say to you “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.” “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure” “People will laugh at you for thinking you had talent.” “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”

As you hit a setback, the voice might say, “This would have been a snap if you really had talent.” “You see, I told you it was a risk. Now you’ve gone and shown the world how limited you are.” “ It’s not too late to back out, make excuses, and try to regain your dignity.”

As you face criticism, you might hear yourself say, “It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.” You might feel yourself getting angry at the person who is giving you feedback. “Who do they think they are? I’ll put them in their place.” The other person might be giving you specific, constructive feedback, but you might be hearing them say “I’m really disappointed in you. I thought you were capable but now I see you’re not.”

2. Recognise that you have a choice.

How you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice. You can interpret them in a fixed mindset as signs that your fixed talents or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them in a growth mindset as signs that you need to ramp up your strategies and effort, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities. It’s up to you.

So as you face challenges, setbacks, and criticism, listen to the fixed mindset voice and...

3. Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.

As you approach a challenge:

THE FIXED-MINDSET says “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”

THE GROWTH-MINDSET answers, “I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn to with time and effort.”

FIXED MINDSET: “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure”

GROWTH MINDSET: “Most successful people had failures along the way.”

FIXED MINDSET: “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”

GROWTH MINDSET: “If I don’t try, I automatically fail. Where’s the dignity in that?”

As you hit a setback:

FIXED MINDSET: “This would have been done if you really had talent.”

GROWTH MINDSET: “That is so wrong. Tennis wasn’t easy for Andy Murray and science wasn’t easy for Thomas Edison. They had a passion and put in tons of effort.

As you face criticism:

FIXED MINDSET: “It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.”

GROWTH MINDSET: “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it. Let me listen—however painful it is– and learn whatever I can.”


4. Take the growth mindset action.

Over time, which voice you heed becomes pretty much your choice. Whether you

take on the challenge wholeheartedly,

learn from your setbacks and try again

hear the criticism and act on it is now in your hands.

Practice hearing both voices, and practice acting on the growth mindset. See how you can make it work for you.

Hope that helped you uncover where you are currently at with your mindset and set you up with some tools to make a change. To read some more about how I developed a strong mindset then read on here.