Fixed vs. Growth Mindset: Differences, Pros & Cons (Complete Guide)
The differences between growth vs fixed mindset are truly immense. Many successful people are growth-minded, and they swear by the benefits of developing growth mindsets over time.
However, many believe it can take a lot of extra effort and superior innate abilities to maintain such a positive mindset. Some may question whether the consistent effort required to think about growth is truly worth it in the long term.
This idea that growth is reliant on unachievable effort levels or special talents is one of the most common misconceptions about mindset development. No matter what your level of intelligence or privilege is, anyone can become growth-oriented.
In this article, we will cover the benefits of investing extra time into maintaining a growth mindset, as well as practical tips to achieve your ambitious goals with your new mindset.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed – What is the Main Difference?
The fixed mindset revolves around the premise that people’s skills and abilities are fixed, meaning they cannot change their skills or develop new skills outside of their natural abilities.
The fixed mindset can be increasingly damaging to anyone’s self-esteem and limits their potential.
Those with a fixed mindset are more prone to giving up on their goals. They may end up taking negative feedback to heart, as it is viewed as something they cannot control or improve upon.
The growth mindset, however, acknowledges ways to apply inherent talent alongside perseverance/effort to personal development.
Such growth occurs when people continue to learn and challenge themselves, as well as apply their existing skills to try to solve problems.
Growth-oriented individuals are clearly more positive and tend to develop a passion for lifelong learning and self-improvement, while the fixed mindset limits opportunities for growth and decreases motivation levels.
What is a Growth Mindset? Definition & Meaning
Every person has beliefs about their strengths and abilities. Such beliefs contribute to an individual’s current mindset, which is how they view themselves, success, and the environment around them.
The activity of growth mindsets has direct impacts on our everyday lives, self-image, and future goals. Dr. Carol Dweck, a pioneer psychology researcher, found there are two main types of mindsets: growth and fixed.
She is the individual who created the definitions of growth/fixed mindsets through her research. Dweck stated that people with a growth mindset believe they can improve their abilities and strengths (thus, grow as a person) by using their existing skills and effort.
Those with a growth mindset activities tackle difficult situations without being overly afraid of failure.
There is no fear of failures with a focus on a growth mindset, as failure is simply a chance to grow. Since this is a positive mindset and focuses on personal growth, it is also linked to having stronger problem-solving strategies in place early on in life.
Using the strategy often leads to more satisfaction and success as one ages.
What is a Fixed Mindset? Definition & Meaning
There are a few key differences between these two mindsets. Those with a fixed mindset have the belief that their natural ability, intelligence, and potential are all fixed.
Meaning, their effort or hard work does not have a direct impact on their destiny. Thus, they fear failures in life and have true difficulty overcoming challenges.
If they are unable to tackle a circumstance, many fixed mindset-oriented individuals see no point in trying to overcome the challenge if it is unnatural.
Instead of trying to improve upon their current abilities, those with a fixed mindset spend their time documenting their inherent ability. This limiting belief system also includes thinking that every person has limited abilities which cannot be improved upon.
The overarching belief with this mindset is that natural talents are the key to success, not effort.
Fixed Mindset Vs. Growth Mindset – 10 Key Characteristics
Both of these mindsets have unique elements which set them apart from one another. Key traits which represent the fixed mindset include:
- Talent and intelligence are set in stone. You do not have control to change elements of your strengths.
- Fear of failure will prevent individuals from trying new strategies.
- An effort is not worthwhile. Believe there is no rewarding effort, simply rewarding innate talent when fighting challenges in life.
- Failure defines individuals.
- Fear of being judged by others.
- Avoids risks for fear of not being successful.
- Sees constructive feedback, specifically if it is negative, as a personal evaluation.
- Gives up easily.
- Threatened by someone else’s success.
- Often ignores even legitimate criticism.
On the other hand, the growth mindset person characteristics are:
- Have the belief that talent and intelligence can be developed.
- Value failure, as they are able to make an improvement from failure.
- Believe mistakes are a crucial aspect of the learning process.
- Take on challenges as well as risks. Stay motivated by the idea of challenges.
- View other’s success as a source of inspiration. They strive to achieve a similar level of success but do not envy the successful people in their lives.
- Welcome feedback has a key role in the personal discovery process.
- Do not believe failure is permanent. Believe it is temporary and tied in to the amount of effort one gives.
- Understand effort is important to success.
- Consistently set learning goals and believe any goals can be through effort and time.
- Believe that actions taken in everyday situations add up in the long run.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset – 20 Examples
There are many examples on how growth mindsets can be utilized in the real world. A few growth mindset examples are listed below.
- “Feedback is important to personal growth. Therefore, I value honest feedback and do not see it as a personal attack.”
- “I understand I do not know everything. I am curious to learn more and use my inherent intelligence and newly gained knowledge in the real world.”
- “It is always better to try. You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.”
- “It is always good to gain new skills. I am unsatisfied with stagnation.”
- “I can improve in my career. The growth mindset journals response is to find new ways to improve my career.”
- “Improvement is always positive.”
- “Seeing others succeed motivates me to achieve my own goals.”
- “Even if this is not my specialty, I can always give my best effort.”
- “It is never too late to start.”
- “I recognize my own strengths, and I can work on my own weaknesses.”
- “There is a lesson about failure: even if I fail, I can still learn.”
- “I can find ways to be more productive and efficient.”
- “I am willing to try different strategies to see what works best for me. Experimentation is exciting.”
- “Results do not define me as a person.”
- “I am comfortable with negative emotions, like anxiety.”
- “I do not look for approval from outside sources.”
- “I am patient with my growth.”
- “I have confidence in my abilities.”
- “While I cannot do that yet, I will try to do it soon.”
- “I am committed to achieving my goals.”
Pros and Cons of Growth Mindset
The growth mindset benefits individuals in a plethora of ways. A few ways growth mindsets can contribute to your success includes:
1. Increased Self Esteem and Confidence
You may have previously heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect, where individuals overestimate their abilities. Others struggle with extremely low self-confidence. Dweck describes this best: “[It] was those with the fixed mindset who accounted for almost all the inaccuracy. The people with the growth mindset were amazingly accurate.”
2. Higher Quality Relationships
Those with a fixed mindset need their partners to make them feel perfect, for they have little inner confidence. The fixed mindset gives individuals the idea that they can read their partner’s mind and partners should never disagree or argue about anything.
Clearly, this is impossible, and those with a fixed mindset do not have ways to address any of the issues that can arise during a relationship.
The growth mindset actions encourage mates to see each other for who they truly are, address any possible flaws, challenge one another to grow, and encourage individuals to go outside of their comfort zone. As a result, relationships last longer and are more enjoyable.
3. No More Stressing to be Perfect
Many people develop perfectionist tendencies and begin to base their value as a person around their success or test results. This can result in lowered confidence, more stress, and less creativity.
Carol Dweck performed an experiment on elementary school students which showed the importance of a growth mindset actions when it comes to perfectionism and stress. She instructed school children to take a test and later asked if their results reflected their intelligence or ability to succeed as adults.
Children with a growth mindset realized that a test cannot limit their success or measure their intelligence. The children with a fixed mindset had the opposite result, believing a single test measured their ability to succeed as an adult
4. Lower Risk of Depression
The growth mindset has been documented to lower levels of depression. One study by Baer, Grant, and Dweck found that children who had depression also had a fixed mindset since they dwelled on their failures and disadvantages.
Additionally, perfectionism has also been found to cause emotional distress and increases in depression as well as anxiety, often to the point of interfering with one’s performance at work. This perfection is present in those with a fixed mindset but absent in those who are growth-oriented.
5. Take Responsibility
A fixed mindset encourages individuals to address their failures and weaknesses by making excuses and blaming their environment. This is not a helpful way to learn about your weaknesses or strengthen your weaker abilities.
Day growth mindset challenge assists you in taking responsibility for your actions while discouraging placing blame on others.
Pros and Cons of a Fixed Mindset
As with any worldview, the fixed mindset has its own list of benefits and drawbacks.
It is generally agreed upon that the negative elements of this mindset outweigh the positive, but it is nonetheless important to understand the mindset to see if it may be a good fit for you.
Some of the drawbacks to this mindset include:
1. More Prone to Perfectionism
The fixed mindset indicates that you are born with a limited amount of skills and intelligence. Thus, people are often forced to use their skills in a perfect manner and dwell on not making any mistakes. If one does make a mistake, the impact of the failure is often exaggerated and viewed as a personal weakness.
2. Lower Self Esteem
If you are not born with a certain skill or high amounts of intelligence, you are told you are simply naturally disadvantaged. This can negatively impact someone’s self-confidence, especially when knowing that there is no way to gain any skills beyond what one is born with.
3. Less Likely to Seek Improvement
Those with a fixed outlook on life often ask themselves: what is the point of seeking self-improvement, if there is no way to become more intelligent or skilled? This idea limits one’s chances to push themselves beyond their innate ability to perform and encourages people to stay inside of their comfort zone.
4. Fear or Failure and Risks
Failure is often viewed as an immense problem to those with a fixed worldview. Instead of viewing it as an opportunity to learn and grow, such individuals believe failure is a reflection of one’s inability to perform a certain task, making them less likely to try to perform the task again and giving individuals a reason to give up quickly.
Risks, such as investing in a business, often involve experiencing failure and learning from it. The fixed mindset limits one’s ability to partake in such activities.
5. Breeds Mediocre Relationships and Careers
The fixed outlook encourages people to pursue career paths they are comfortable with, regardless of how passionate they are about the subject. People are not able to freely explore new careers that they can learn about through failure, and possibly learn to love over time.
How to Train and Change Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset
Developing any new mindset takes time and consistent, deliberate practice. Start by learning to embrace failure. Success does not occur without some failure.
Understand that failure is not the end of the world, but it is a great way to strengthen your skills so you can succeed at your next attempt at something.
Failure gives people a great deal of time for reflection so they can truly do what they must do to become better problem solvers. Consider the fact that your results and success does not define you as a person.
Separate your value as an individual from your accomplishments. This way, you can start viewing criticism as a way to gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses as opposed to personal attacks.
You will also be able to judge your effort and success without decreasing your confidence. Get comfortable with trying new things and getting outside of your comfort zone.
The best opportunities for growth do not occur in a setting where you feel safe and successful. Rather, you have to be consistently challenged to see any true growth.
Try doing at least one thing each day to challenge yourself. It can be anything from taking a cold shower immediately after waking up to finally investing in your own business.
Focusing on setting some ambitious goals for yourself. Each day, remind yourself you are capable of achieving these goals if you put in enough time and effort. Ensure the goals are meaningful to you, specific, time-oriented, yet still realistic.
Accomplishing the goal will encourage you to continue pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits.
Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset Quotes
Quotes are a fantastic way to gain insight into scientists, professors, and leader’s views on the fixed and growth mindset approach.
While an immense amount of growth mindset mentors, scientists, and pop culture figures recognize the benefits of growth, here are a few famous quotes:
1. “What allowed me to take that first step, to choose growth and risk rejection? In the fixed mindset, I had needed my blame and bitterness. It made me feel more righteous, powerful, and whole than thinking I was at fault. The growth mindset allowed me to give up the blame and move on. The growth mindset gave me a mother.”– Carol S. Dweck
2. “Because some people see a wall, and assume that’s the end of their journey. Others see it, and decide that it’s just the beginning.”– Angeline Trevena
3. “I won’t just have a job; I’ll have a calling. I’ll challenge myself every day. When I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the grittiest.”– Angela Duckworth
4. “Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: the top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do. –Carol S. Dweck
5. “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time but it is the ability to resist or use failure that often leads to greater success.”– J. K. Rowling
6. “Enlightenment begins when you change your mindset — from a blaming mindset to blessing mindset, from a negative mindset to a positive mindset, from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, from a linear mindset to an exponential mindset.”– Amit Ray
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