Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford University, has done extensive research on mindsets. Through her research, Dr. Dweck discovered that some people have a fixed mindset and others a growth mindset.

Fixed mindset – you believe your attributes and abilities are inherently fixed and will not change no matter how much effort you put in.

Growth mindset – you believe your talents and abilities can be improved and developed through your actions and efforts.

Fixed mindset vs. Growth Mindset


Influences on Personal Development

Dweck found that the mindset you take affects how you live your life. She discovered your mindset shapes your attitude and creates your entire perception of what is attainable.  She believes what you think and how you think determines your behavior and thus predicts your success.


Characteristics of the Fixed Mindset

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe you either are or are not good at something based on your inherent nature. You believe that you have a certain amount of intelligence and talent, and nothing can change that. You feel it does not matter how much effort you put in, your talents or intelligence is fixed.  Therefore, you tend to think that your effort is fruitless. And, if you do put in effort and fail at a new task or skill, you feel your effort was wasted.

With a fixed mindset, you tend to avoid challenges because failure suggests that you lack the intelligence needed to be successful. You believe failures define who you are as a person, so you avoid even trying. You stick with what you know to keep up your self-confidence. You feel getting things wrong and receiving feedback is negative and it reveals your flaws and personal limitations. So you try to hide your flaws so you are not looked at as a failure.

A fixed mindset often prevents you from developing new skills or abilities that would bring a feeling of fulfillment and happiness to your life.


Characteristics of the Growth Mindset

If you have a growth mindset, you believe your talents can be developed through hard work, learning, and feedback. You believe you can be good at anything, because your abilities are entirely due to your actions and efforts.

With a growth mindset, you believe effort is necessary to grow and master new skills. The more effort you put in the closer you get to mastery of the skill. If you make mistakes along the way, you view them as an aid to learning. To you, mistakes are an essential part of the learning process and show your effort.  You believe failures are just temporary setbacks, so you persist through those setbacks.   Thus, you embrace challenges because you believe it will help you improve your performance.

With a growth mindset, you welcome feedback from others because it helps enhance your abilities. You do not perceive it as criticism about you as a person, but rather about your current abilities. Therefore, more feedback you get the better you can become.

If you have a growth mindset, you tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset because you worry less about failing and you put more energy into learning and developing skills.  Most importantly, you are more likely maximize your full potential.


Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset Chart



Key Points – Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

Characteristics of a Fixed Mindset

  1. Believes intelligence and talent are fixed
  2. Sticks with what they know
  3. Believes putting forth effort is worthless or fruitless
  4. Believes personal failures define who they are
  5. Hides flaws so not to be judged as a failure
  6. Avoids challenges to avoid failure
  7. Tends to give up easy
  8. Ignores feedback from others
  9. Views feedback as personal criticism
  10. Feels threatened by the success of others


Characteristics of a Growth Mindset

  1. Believes intelligence and talents can be developed
  2. Believes effort is the path to mastery
  3. Believes mistakes are an essential part of learning
  4. Views failure as an opportunity to learn
  5. Believes failures are just temporary setbacks
  6. Embraces challenges
  7. Welcomes feedback from others in order to learn
  8. Believes feedback is a guide to further improvement
  9. Views feedback as a source of information
  10. Views other’s success as a source of inspiration and information


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