Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets
Research about mindsets has identified two types – growth and fixed mindsets. The research has found that the favorable mindset to cultivate is a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset means that you believe that your character, intelligence, and other abilities are static. This means that they are fixed parts of who you are and can never be changed.
A key characteristic of a fixed mindset is the need some people feel to constantly prove themselves. Since you only have a set amount of intelligence, personality, morality, and so on, you need to constantly prove yourself. People with fixed mindsets often get consumed in proving themselves in class, in their jobs, or in relationships.
This constant proving of yourself to others comes from the need to confirm your existing intelligence, talents, or abilities. This arises out of a concern over whether you will look smart or stupid, be accepted or rejected, succeed or fail. In this case, the individual with the fixed mindset is overly concerned with the static labels they have come to identify with themselves, such as "intelligent," "gifted," "talented," and so on.
A growth mindset is one where an individual sees character, intelligence, and abilities as always developing and evolving. Unlike the fixed mindset, a growth mindset doesn't compel you to constantly prove yourself because you know that you can change and grow with experience and practice.
Your qualities aren't fixed. It doesn't matter if others see that you lack perfect qualities, because all of us are always growing and learning.
A key element in success in any field is the willingness and desire to learn new things and grow, and the acceptance of change. This is why a growth mindset is strongly associated with success.
Why Do Some People Have Fixed Mindsets?
A fixed mindset can be seen in a person who masters something quickly, and then plateaus and fails to improve further. The person will either succeed with a task at first try or give up in disappointment. Their inner voice has already told them that they're either good at or not good at the task at hand. A growth mindset can be seen in one who learns slowly and gradually, accepting new challenges and solving problems along the way.
These different mindsets can be recognized in early childhood. When given a challenging puzzle to solve, some children will try, fail, and become quickly disinterested and give up. Other children try, and even though they don't experience immediate success, they become engaged. They see it as a problem to solve and spend time with it. We often say of kids like this that they love a good challenge.
These mindsets also reveal themselves to us later in life. Think back to someone you know in high school who had everything going well for them. They were intelligent, talented, and personable, and seemed to have everything in order. But in recent years, you reconnect with this person on social media or at a high school reunion. You're shocked to learn that their life took off early and then seems to have fizzled out or stagnated.
Most likely, this is a person who has a fixed mindset and could not continue growing and evolving in the way that you'd expected.
On the other hand, if you reconnect with someone who has a growth mindset, they might have gone on to achieve more than you ever expected. The person may not have seemed like the type who was bound for great things, but over time, they might have started a business or achieved great success elsewhere.
~ The Game Changer Team