Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset: How Cultivating A Growth Mindset Can Take You To The Next Level?

Why do some excel at what they do, while others don’t even possess a glimmer of hope that things will improve despite obvious talent? Having a fixed or growth mindset can impact the perception of life and the challenges we face. Research has shown that it is the way that we perceive ourselves and our abilities that count. Despite being told they would not amount to anything, people who work hard have succeeded due to their growth mindset. A growth mindset is where someone believes and knows that they can get to a certain level of achievement through lifelong learning, and they can become more intelligent with daily effort. The concept of growth mindset was developed and taught by psychologist Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

According to Carol Dweck, a mindset is a self-perception or self-theory that people hold about themselves. For example, some believe that they are intelligent, while others believe that they are not capable of success or a bad student who is an example of a mindset. Dweck further said that people could be aware or unaware of their different mindsets, but they can be determined through personal relationships, professional success, learning achievements, and more.

Growth Vs Fixed Mindset

Mindset, whether fixed or growth, affects people’s abilities and helps in shaping their lives. The way humans perceive their talents, intellect, and skills not only affects the way they feel. Instead, it can affect what they achieve, whether they stick to their old habits or develop new healthy ones.

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A fixed mindset is the opposite of a growth mindset, and it is the belief that you can’t change your traits, talents, or basic abilities and that you have innate abilities that you are born with that no effort or hard work can change.

Fixed Mindset


Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their basic qualities like intelligence and talent are fixed traits. They believe in their talents or lack thereof as what creates success. There is no room for improvement and no way to change what they were born with. In other words, they are in their comfort zone.

People with fixed mindsets believe that that they can’t or won’t be able to achieve their goals once they fail at something which they inevitably will at some point. They make excuses to rationalize their failure by saying that, “had I had more time to study, I would have done better.”

This was according to the study conducted by Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. So they spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success without effort.”

People with a fixed mindset often take criticism personally and tend to give up once an obstacle comes their way or they make mistakes.

Having a mentality that ability is fixed or ingrained and that everyone is born with a certain level of ability and no one can change what a fixed mindset entails.

Characteristics of people with a fixed mindset in terms of performance are that their brain is most active when given information about how well they have done when it comes to grades.

When dealing with setbacks, people who have a fixed mindset tend to get discouraged by setbacks. This is because setbacks make them doubt their ability, and this leads to resignation.

Growth Mindset


On the other hand, a growth mindset defers from a fixed mindset because here, one believes that whatever stage they are in their life, they will constantly improve through hard work and effort. Carol Dweck wrote, “In a growth mindset, people believe that they can develop most basic abilities through dedication and hard work- brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

People who possess growth mindsets believe that if they work hard and persevere, they can learn, hence becoming smarter. This will then lead them to view challenges and failures as shortcomings and opportunities to improve their learning and skills.

They also tend to handle mistakes differently from those with a fixed mindset. They see mistakes as learning opportunities and tend to accept criticism because they believe this mentality will help them grow.

Therefore, when it comes to students, those with a growth mindset tend to increase their grades over time, as research has shown.

When it comes to people with a growth mindset, their brains are most active when they are told what they can do to improve or develop. They believe in the potential to develop and have a positive outlook on life.

People who possess a growth mindset tend to view a setback as an opportunity to learn, do better and be better every day. This leads to them working harder and putting in more effort to achieve the desired result.

Factors That Impact Growth In Life


Having looked at what a growth mindset entails and differentiated it from a fixed mindset, it is now time to analyze the different factors that impact growth and they are;

“Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are possibly right.” Henry Ford’s quote perfectly sums up growth. Your thought process significantly impacts growth. Whatever you think you are or you are not is probably the truth because as long as you think it accurate, it will hold weight on you and determine your actions

Having a fixed mindset and one approach to life greatly impacts growth. Believing that you will not succeed no matter how much effort you put in is the enemy of growth.

A limiting mindset where one avoids challenges, gives up easily, doesn’t accept constructive criticism, and is threatened by other people’s success can greatly impact growth.

1. Putting In The Effort

Putting effort is extremely important. Without effort, your dreams and aspirations will go in vain. Therefore, making an effort in whatever you wish to grow in is beneficial for a growth mindset.

Remember, it’s all about the efforts as they matter and will define your future.

2. Facing Challenges

Challenges are a part of your life. Instead of fearing the challenges embrace and accept them. Look at them as opportunities for growth and development.

Challenges drag people out of their comfort zone, bring out the best in them, and achieve the things they desire most.

3. Making Mistakes

It is not just YOU who makes a mistake. It happens, and everyone in life makes them. What’s important is people learn from them instead of hating them. Sit back down and reflect on the mistakes you might have made. Remind yourself that it’s human nature to make mistakes. Do not avoid them, and definitely don’t let them discourage you or bring you down. Instead, use it to your advantage.

4. Receiving Feedback Or Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is beneficial. Be your biggest criticizer and criticize yourself and your work.

There is nothing wrong with receiving feedback; instead, go and ask for it yourself. However, remember to ask for feedback from someone who already knows about your particular field.

For instance, don’t ask a doctor how to make a car. You will have to go to an engineer to know how a car is built and not a doctor. Furthermore, if you go to a doctor, they may give you wrong since they are not familiar with the knowledge.

When it comes to children, the words spoken to them impact their growth. For instance, praising intelligence makes kids think that it is a fixed trait and not something that can be learned and cultivated over time. This puts them in a fixed mindset. However, praising one’s journey or the process it took to get there builds more of a growth mindset.

Teaching kids from a young age about the brain and how it changes with learning also shows them that when you learn something new, the neurons in the brain form a new connection and that over time you can enhance your abilities.

Having a positive outlook in life and knowing that every setback is an opportunity for growth is great to achieve a growth mindset.

The environment and people you associate yourself with impact growth in that a negative environment will lead to you having a fixed mindset and thereby impacting your growth. Surrounding yourself with toxic people who don’t support you can lead to you having a negative way of looking at life hence impacting your growth.

How To Develop A Growth Mindset?


Viewing challenges as opportunities is an excellent way of cultivating a growth mindset. Once you have perfected the art of growth, you will have a growth mindset which means that you will seize every opportunity for self-improvement and self-development

To cultivate a growth mindset, it is extremely relevant to accept and embrace your imperfections.

Another way of cultivating a growth mindset is by teaching people that their brains can change, and just because one thing keeps happening doesn’t mean that you can’t pivot and take an entirely different route.

1. Positive Inner Voice

Listening to your inner voice is extremely important. This will help you figure out what your mindset is. If your inner voice keeps on saying negative things like, “I will fail,” you need to stop it and find out ways to motivate that you can and have the ability to make it.

Realize that that negative inner voice doesn’t determine who you are, and you can choose not to listen to it. You can then replace the negative fixed mindset voice with a positive growth mindset voice and tell yourself that no matter how many times you fall, that won’t deter you and keep moving forward.

2. Practice

Practice, Practice, and Practice. Do this by putting yourself in situations where you are challenged, which will help you practice a growth mindset through learning, failing, and learning again, hence growth.

3. Do Not Seek Validation From Others

Stop seeking other people’s approval. Constantly thriving on other people’s compliments to make you happy isn’t a way of growth. The only necessary support is your own, and you should stop caring what other people think and comparing yourself to them. Your journey towards growth is your own alone.

Focus on the effort rather than the outcome. Research has shown that kids who are praised for their effort and the process of getting there are more likely to develop a growth mindset.

4. Try Different Techniques 

Try different techniques and strategies. Telling kids to try harder or focusing on one approach to learning isn’t enough. Instead, it is important to engage with kids and encourage them to ask questions like,” What can I do differently?” This will help them know what their mistakes are and do differently next time.

5. Feedback

It is also important to ask for feedback or help when necessary. Cultivating a growth mindset all by yourself can seem challenging, and it is okay to ask for help when you feel stuck. Look for a mentor, coach, or friend who can guide you.

6. Reward Yourself & Celebrate Smaller Wins

Cultivate a sense of purpose by thinking about the bigger picture while celebrating the small wins. The journey may be long, but it is learning progress, and every failure is a chance to learn from it and do better next time.

Develop persistence and know that no matter how tough the road gets, it will get better in the long run, and just don’t give up on yourself.

Concluding Thoughts

A growth mindset does not arrive fast, and it takes time and perseverance. Learning from your mistakes and doing things differently the next time around. It’s about believing in hope and cultivating a positive mindset. Knowing that if you haven’t done well today, there’s always tomorrow and another chapter of your life where you can learn and grow.

Subscribe to us and let us know what you feel about a growth mindset and how you would like to develop it.

Key Takeaways On Growth Mindset


  • A growth mindset is where someone believes and knows that they can get to a certain level of achievement through learning, and they can become more intelligent with effort.
  • According to Carol Dweck, a mindset is a self-perception or self-theory that people hold about themselves.
  • Growth Vs Fixed Mindset: A fixed mindset is the opposite of a growth mindset, and it is the belief that you can’t change your traits, talents, or basic abilities and that you have innate abilities that you are born with that no effort or hard work can change.
  • Fixed Mindset: People with a fixed mindset believe that traits such as talents and intellect are fixed, and one can not do anything about them.
  • Growth Mindset: People with growth mindsets believe that they can learn and become smarter if they work hard and persevere.
  • Factors That Impact Growth: Few ingredients that can influence and enhance growth mindset are.
  • Effort: Putting an effort is essential if you wish to achieve something in life.
  • Challenges: Challenges are opportunities that can help you grow.
  • Mistakes: Do not avoid the mistakes you make; instead, embrace and learn from them.
  • Feedback: Do not get defensive when someone gives you feedback. Instead, appreciate it and use the feedback for your good. 
  • Using positive reinforcement while teaching children about growth helps.
  • Also, teaching kids about the brain and its functions can help them understand how they can learn new skills easily.

Growth Mindset Can Be Learned And Developed With The Help Of A Few Factors.

  • See failures as opportunities. Learn from them.
  • Do not wait for the right time; instead, get to work with what you have and at this very moment.
  • Take inspiration from others around you.
  • Remember, skills can be learned, and intelligence can be developed.
  • Nobody is born with skills. Even the greatest singers and dancers learn them. See their journey and take inspiration from them to take a step towards learning the skills and abilities.
  • Positive Inner Voice: Listening to your inner voice is extremely important. 
  • Focus on the positive voice and remind yourself you can do it.
  • Practice: Practice makes people perfect, and it is the key to growth.
  • Do Not Seek Validation From Others: Stop seeking other people’s approval.
  • Your journey is yours alone.
  • Try Different Techniques: Use techniques and strategies to develop skills and a growth mindset.
  • Read more books on the topic and learn about it.
  • Feedback: View feedback from others and look at them as an opportunity.
  • Celebrate Smaller Wins: The journey towards a goal can be long and hard and tiring but motivate yourself to move further by celebrating even the smallest wins.

What Is A Research Mindset?

A research mindset focuses on learning to answer questions and only answering questions that are related to the situation at hand. People can develop a research mindset by :

  • Reading books and research papers.
  • Asking questions on the topic of interest.
  • Taking the opinions and feedback from experts in the field.
  • Knowing your destination.
  • Criticizing your own work and looking at it from an outsider’s perspective.

Why Is Growth Mindset Important?

A growth mindset is a key to success. Believing in oneself and that you are the one in control of your talents, intellects, and abilities can help one achieve the things they desire in life. In addition to talent, hard work, and skills, the underlying belief that you are in control can help one significantly.

Also, an experiment conducted in the USA revealed that a growth mindset improves achievement. 

AlignThoughts Editorial
AlignThoughts Editorial
The editorial team at AlignThoughts includes feature writers, researchers, and subject matter experts with rich domain knowledge who are always willing to go the extra mile to deliver quality content. We strive to create meaningful content with a fresh perspective that can leave an impact on your life.

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