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Growth vs. Fixed Mindset


This is the second installment of the Growth Mindset series. My goal is to share this concept so you can use it as a tool to help you gauge if your mindset is helping you to grow and expand or keeping you limited. There isn't any judgment either way; you just want to be aware and make adjustments as you see fit.


Motherhood and entrepreneurship both have helped me to realize when I have a limiting mindset and have cultivated the appreciation of having a mindset of possibilities.


Though I have always been optimistic, I have not always had a growth mindset so learning how to lean in that direction has been a game changer for me in all areas of life.


In this blog, let's compare the growth mind set to the fixed mindset.

 

We can always look to nature for examples that we can compare to our abilities. When you look at a small tree that has grown into and split a rock, you see the growth mindset in nature. The tree will continue to grow and flourish, and eventually, the rock will split completely into two parts. If the seed did not have growth firmly implanted within itself, it would wither and die.

 

People with fixed mindsets see dead ends and lack the motivation to break out of this negative thinking. We can look at all the differences between a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset to understand your potential.

 

- Do You Have The Smarts?

When you have a growth mindset, you understand that you can become smarter and learn everything you need to succeed. A fixed mindset closes you off from the idea that you can become smarter, and you end up choosing to stay at the same level of intelligence.

 

- Putting In The Work

With a growth mindset, you understand that practice and being persistent will lead you to success with all your goals. The fixed mindset has a person believing that they cannot get smarter or improve in any area. They believe that talent is number one and that hard work and grit cannot overcome lack of talent.

 

- Drive and Motivation

 

People with a growth mindset can push themselves to grow in different areas. They can develop different ways to self-motivate and are not afraid to stumble along the way because they know failure is a learning experience. When they see friends or family succeed, they rejoice and applaud the effort.

 

A person with a fixed mindset sees learning or trying something new as the potential for being embarrassed and will not put in the effort. They fear failure and the rejection it may be bring. When family and friends succeed, they may react negatively towards them. Their mindset is, "why are they so lucky?" It is easy for a person with a fixed mindset to be jealous of the success of others.

 

- No Such Thing As Failure

In a growth mindset, a person understands that not everything will go their way. They accept the lows and highs that life sometimes throws at them. In terms of failure, they relish the idea of trying new things and learning from what did not work in the past. They fully believe in the idea of Thomas Edison and his famous quotes such as, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

 

Those with a fixed mindset will either not try or give up quickly if there is any resistance to their attempts. For example, suppose a person with a fixed mindset fails the first year of university. In that case, they will not attempt another year and may tell themselves that a university education is beyond them as they are not as smart as others they know.

It is possible to go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset when people finally believe they can. It typically takes something life-changing to occur for the fixed mindset person to state, "that is it, I've had it. I have to change this." One example of this in my own life is deciding that I needed to address my mood. After motherhood, I got into an emotional rut and it was negatively affecting my relationships so I had to make a decision to heal and take better care of myself.

 

When the desire to change is so great, the person with a fixed mindset will seek help in changing for the better.

 

Science has shown us that we can learn at any age if we use the right strategies and keep our bodies and brain in good health.  Eliminating the negative voice in the brain may be the number one solution. As it has been stated in many different ways, our brains will believe what we think about if we do it with enough conviction. Think and act positive, and you will be positive, and change is just around the corner.


My one caveat is that sometimes a fixed mindset stems from wounding, adverse childhood experiences, and a lack of proper teaching from family and community. Sometimes, our mindset is based on self-protection, a lack of opportunity to know that something greater is possible, and societal oppression and expectation.


The key is not judging yourself as bad if you struggle with a fixed mindset. The first step may be to heal, and a natural unfolding will be that you develop a growth mindset.


So, again, the good news is that a fixed mindset is not a life's sentence and instead is adaptable and changable whenever you are ready. Just be aware so that you can make changes when you are ready.


Journal Time: Assess where you are in your mindset by journaling on the questions below.

  • Do you have a growth or fixed mindset when it comes to health, career, relationships or money/finances?

  • Do you think you are missing out on opportunities that can help you grow?


Take time to contemplate and journal to raise your awareness around your mind set. Be sure to have lots of compassion for yourself knowing that you can make new choices when you are ready.


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