Do you see your glass half-full or half-empty?
You may have heard about how our perspective and approach can influence the outcome.
But does this mean you can achieve anything with just attitude and hard work? That would be underplaying the importance of natural abilities or talent.
So, where do all these different aspects fit in? Can you become a world-class achiever on the strength of your talents alone? Or can you do it without any natural aptitude?
It has to be a mix of all these things – talent, attitude, and hard work.
Talent is inherent and nothing can be done about it. But attitude and hard work can definitely make it better.
So, how about attitude and hard work? Why do some people work harder than others, despite having talent? It all boils down to your attitude. As long as you have a positive attitude and approach the task with a “can-do” mindset, you have a better chance at success. Or you will do better than others who are less positive than you.
Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, assigned a name and definition to this attitude – growth mindset and fixed mindset.
Read on to learn more about growth and fixed mindsets. Here you will find the definitions and characteristics of the two mindsets and the benefits of building growth mindset.
This article explains the difference between the two through growth mindset and fixed mindset real-world examples. You will also find here strategies and tips on how to develop a growth mindset.
What is a growth mindset?
When a person has “an understanding that abilities and understanding can be developed”, it is termed as a growth mindset. They believe that by investing time and hard work, they can become better at anything they do. Such as smarter, brighter, more creative, and more skilled.
With a growth mindset, a person will end up achieving more than others. As they believe that there is scope for improvement and they are capable of making it happen, they will be motivated to put in the time and effort to refine and advance their abilities and talents. They worry less about their inherent talent and abilities as they can always work on whatever they have and get better at it.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
This is everything that a growth mindset isn’t about. When a person believes that their abilities and understanding are stagnant and bounded and cannot be improved by any means, they are said to have a fixed mindset. They consider abilities and talents as inherent qualities. Either you have them or you don’t.
Those with a fixed mindset believe that there is a permanence to their intelligence. They cannot become brighter and more knowledgeable nor is there a chance for them to become less bright and less knowledgeable. There is no chance for improvement or change either way.
The direct consequence of having a fixed mindset is the way the person behaves. When you believe that you cannot get better or improve yourself, you won’t be motivated to put in the effort to enhance your abilities and talents. Without effort, the chances of improvement are minimal and this will lead to missed opportunities and unfulfilled desires.
Characteristics of a growth mindset
A growth mindset is not just about being optimistic and open-minded about what you can or are capable of achieving in life. It is also not merely believing that you can improve your inherent traits or even thinking that you can achieve whatever you set your heart upon. It is much more than this.
Dr. Carol Dweck, the original proponent of growth and fixed mindsets, highlights 3 misconceptions she has come across on the subject.
- “I already have it, and I always have.” Dr. Dweck considers a growth mindset involves much more than a positive or “can-do” attitude. It goes much deeper and more specific than just being optimistic.
- “A growth mindset is just about praising and rewarding effort.” Dr. Dweck considers praise and reward as good gestures but they need to be linked to the outcome as well. An unfruitful effort doesn’t merit a reward. At the same time, the effort invested in learning and making progress is worthy of praise.
- “Just espouse a growth mindset, and good things will happen.” Dr. Dweck considers a growth mindset may lead to success and positive results but it doesn’t guarantee them. In other words, mere positive thinking won’t assure you success. You need to back it up with dedication and hard work. Also, you should undertake tasks that you believe are productive and worthwhile. With all this in place, you have a better shot at success than otherwise. But even then success is not guaranteed.
How can a growth mindset benefit your life?
People with a growth mindset believe that their inherent traits form the foundation on which they can build their lives. Through practice, training, learning, and hard work, they believe they can improve themselves.
They are always attempting new things, experimenting, making mistakes, correcting them, and learning from them. As long as you believe that there is scope for improvement and you can make the transformation, there is always hope for a better life.
Here are some ways a growth mindset can help you live a happier and more fulfilled life.
- You get to enjoy life even when you are not perfect.
- It improves your self-esteem and confidence.
- You are good at understanding your own strengths and weaknesses.
- It helps you to enjoy more fulfilling relationships.
- It takes away the need to be perfect.
- You are always learning and you are allowed to make mistakes.
- It lowers the chances of anxiety and depression.
- You feel more responsible for your life.
- You become resilient to being labeled and stereotyped.
- You treat mistakes and setbacks as chances for learning and improvement.
- You don’t feel stressed to prove yourself.
- You enjoy the time spent on effort instead of dreading it.
- You are always improving and on a growth path.
- You don’t feel the compulsion to be better than others.
30 Fixed Mindset Vs Growth Mindset Examples
For a person with a fixed mindset, there is no scope for change or improvement. Their growth potential is zero. They rely entirely on their inherent talent and intelligence to succeed in life.
On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset is always searching for ways to learn more, amass more experience, hone their skills, and become better in every possible way.
These examples of fixed mindset and growth mindset will give you a better idea of how both mindsets work in the same situation.
|Growth mindset||Fixed mindset|
|I can do anything I want.||I can either do it or not.|
|Mistakes and failures are opportunities to learn and grow.||Mistakes and failures are just that. They reveal the limits of my capabilities.|
|I am willing to attempt anything.||To avoid mistakes and failure, I will try only things that I am sure of succeeding.|
|Missed opportunities open up new possibilities.||Missed opportunities lead to downfall and disappointment.|
|Negative feedback is taken in a constructive sense.||Negative feedback is a certificate of failure.|
|I am influenced and motivated by the success stories of others.||I resent and envy those who succeed.|
|When I encounter obstacles on my path, I try to overcome them.||When I come across obstacles, I give up.|
|Challenges are opportunities to prove myself.||Challenges are not for me. I give up.|
|I am open to trying new things.||I will attempt only things I know.|
|To stop trying is equivalent to failure.||To avoid failure, I will stop trying.|
|I am a work in progress. I am always evolving.||I am who I am. I can’t do anything about it.|
|Criticism opens up new possibilities for growth.||Criticism hurts my ego.|
|I can get better at anything with practice.||I can do only things I am good at.|
|Feedback is always appreciated.||Feedback is not welcome.|
|I am ready to take on any challenges.||I want to run away from challenges.|
|I feel inspired by the success of others.||I feel threatened by the success of others.|
|Criticisms help me grow as a person.||Criticisms make me feel defensive.|
|I can learn from others and improve myself.||I have what I have. I cannot get better.|
|Successful people are doing so well. There must be something for me to learn from them.||They cannot do well without indulging in some devious tactics.|
|I am late. I will try to avoid this next time.||I am late. This makes me angry and it ruins my day.|
|I succeed because of my hard work.||I succeed because I am bright and smart.|
|I am always eager to attempt something new.||I feel it is a waste of time and effort to learn something new.|
|There is so much more for me to learn.||I know all that there is to know.|
|Criticisms can be constructive.||Criticisms are all negative.|
|I can always try. Even if I fail, there is always something to learn from it.||Why try when I am going to fail. I know I am not good at this.|
|I can learn new things and expand my expertise.||Why bother learning new things. There will be others who are better than me.|
|There is room for improvement. This is the only way I can make progress.||There is no room for improvement. I will better stay where I am.|
|I can succeed because others have.||I cannot succeed because I don’t have the skillset for it.|
|I can always get better with practice.||I am either good at something or not.|
|Perfection is a myth. There is always a chance for improvement.||I am either perfect or I am not.|
|It’s never too late to learn.||I am too old to learn.|
How do we develop growth mindset?
After understanding what it means to have a growth mindset, you may be ready to develop one. Now the question is how to transform into a growth mindset.
You may feel apprehensive that the task would require too much effort. It is not as hard as you think it would be.
You can try these strategies to build the foundation for cultivating growth mindset.
Start with developing self-belief. Learn to trust your judgments and intuitions. Believe in your abilities and skills. Count on your ability to bring in positive change.
Give a positive twist to failure. View every one of your failures as a chance to learn and improve. Treat it as an addition to your experience. Make sure that you have something positive to take away from every failure.
Raise your self-awareness. Having a better understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and talents can help gain a better idea of who you are. If necessary, ask for feedback from people who know you well.
Encourage your enthusiasm and get ready for a lifetime of learning. Continue to look at the world around you through the eyes of a child; with awe and wonder. Never stop yearning for more knowledge. Keep asking questions and listen to answers earnestly.
Don’t shy away from challenges. Accept that on the path to achieving anything worthwhile, you will come up against challenges. Success is all about willingness to overcome them or learning from failures.
Learn to embrace what you do and try to do what you love. Success will come easily if there is passion involved. When you do things that you love, it is natural for you to succeed. You can always cultivate a love for things you are already doing.
Develop willpower so that you won’t give up easily. Success always comes from hard work. If you give yourself the option of giving up, you are robbing yourself of the chance to succeed. Develop the tenacious attitude to get up after each fall and keep going.
Be open to being inspired by others and get ready to inspire others. Don’t allow negative emotions like envy and jealousy to cloud your attitude. Look upon the success of others as an opportunity to learn from them. Feel inspired by successful people. At the same time, take action that can become an inspiration for others.
If you can manage to adopt these approaches, a growth mindset will follow naturally.
Some tips for building growth mindset
- Don’t shy away from your flaws. Acknowledge and accept your imperfections.
- Use obstacles and challenges as opportunities for improvement and growth.
- Don’t limit yourself to a few strategies. Keep an open mind.
- Use every failure as a chance to learn.
- Don’t seek approval from others. Give preference to learning.
- Stop assigning too much importance to the outcome. Learn to enjoy the journey.
- Find a purpose and work with it.
- Learn to see the whole picture.
- Celebrate your successes as well as that of others.
- Don’t give precedence to quick learning over learning well.
- Appreciate and reward efforts and not attitudes.
- Reassign the meaning of the word “success” as talent and hard work instead of talent alone.
- Offer constructive criticism and treat criticisms from others in the constructive sense.
- Accept that scope for improvement doesn’t translate to failure.
- Look for opportunities to learn new things.
- Give precedence to hard work over talent.
- Develop your mental strength and willpower.
- Acknowledge that you cannot survive on talent alone. Hard work is an integral part of success.
- Use the word “yet” more often instead of plain negative statements. As in, “I don’t know how to do that yet.”
- Don’t wait to commit mistakes for you to learn from them. Learn from others’ mistakes.
- Keep setting new goals for you to accomplish.
- Be ready to take risks and don’t shy away from revealing your vulnerabilities.
- Learn to be realistic in your approach towards goals.
- Take responsibility for your actions and attitude.
- Feel proud to have a growth mindset.
Cultivating growth mindset doesn’t happen in a day or two. Acknowledging and accepting the benefits of building growth mindset is a step in the right direction. The growth mindset and fixed mindset examples given here can help you understand the difference between the two.
Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that changing mindsets is an easy task. No, it is not. Like any habit, this also takes numerous small steps to make it happen.