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Fixed vs Growth Mindset

Why is that I had not read the book "Mindset" by Carol Dwek before? If you haven't read this book, I totally recommend it! In her book, Dr Carol Dwek uncovers the differences between two types of mindsets: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

I had heard about the concepts in this book many times before so they were all familiar but a lot of them click deeper as I read the book. You can find the book here. Once again, I can't recommend this book enough.

I want to start just by defining both growth and fix mindset. Like me, you might have heard these concepts before, and you might already have an idea of what they mean. One thing that is important to keep in mind is that we all have both mindsets. We might have a growth mindset in certain aspects of your life and a fix mindset in others. Our mindset can also change based on a situation. Just keep that in mind as we define them and you try to define what is your mindset, because I know that is what is going to go through your mind as you read through these.

The fixed mindset tends to make people think more in terms of absolutes, developing the believe that individual traits such as intelligence or creativity are innate and cannot be changed or developed. This mindset can lead to trouble with self-esteem and personal development, particularly in the face of mistakes and failures, as people tend to put labels on themselves and others that prevents them from learning from mistakes and accept challenges.

People with a fixed-mindset see effort as unnecesary and not useful since they beleive you can't change what / who you are.

We view of ourselves can determine everything. Those who believe that their qualities are unchangeable — fixed mindset — want to prove themself correct over and over rather than learning from their mistakes.

On the face of feedback they are defensive, and they take it personal. They see it as an attack vs a gift.

On the other hand, in the growth mindset, intelligence, creativity, and artistic ability can be developed over time with practice, hard work, endurance and a willingness to learn and adapt. People with a growth mindset see change and development as a constant, they place emphasis on learning from mistakes. This makes people with a growth mindset better capable of responding to both the world around them as well as their inner fear, hopes and desires.

People with a growth mindset see obstacles as learning opportunities, they are open to feedack as they see it as a gift to allow them to keep growing and improving.

In the book, Dweck gives numerous examples to illustrate the differences in the 2 mindsets in personal life, sports, business and even parenting.

In the book she explains that how you define and approach success determines your results. People with a fixed mindset believe their abilities are fixed, thus they prefer to stay in their comfort zone and focus on validating and proving themselves. Those with a growth mindset focus on learning and stretching themselves. There’s nothing wrong with building self-confidence and belief. The danger comes when you feel you’re entitled to success because you’re special, or when you define your self-worth by your achievements. When you do so, you’ll start to fear losing this sense of "specialness".

On the other hand, when things go wrong, everyone (those with a fixed-mindset as well as those with a growth mindset) feels bad to some degree. The difference is in how they respond. People with a fixed mindset allows the failure to define them permanently (“I’m a failure), give up, or try to protect their image by hiding their deficiencies, finding blame or excuses. Those with a growth mindset may also feel upset, but they see the mistake as an incident and a problem to be overcome (“I failed this time”). They try to identify their shortfalls, confront the challenges, and seek alternative routes to success.

People with a fixed mindset tend to resist putting in effort because they believe the need to work harder means they’re not “special” enough, and they’re silently worried that their best effort will turn out to be inadequate. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset are driven by their passion for excellence, and end up winning as a result of their growth.

The good news is, mindsets aren’t permanent and can be changed As I mantioend, you’re likely to have a mix of both mindsets but skew toward one of them. You also don’t have the same mindset all the time.

There are eight general approaches for developing the foundation for such a mindset:

  1. Believe in yourself and your capability to figure things out.

  2. View failure in a different light: see failure as an opportunity to learn from your experiences and apply what you have learned next time around.

  3. Cultivate your self-awareness: work on becoming more aware of your talents, strengths, and weaknesses; gather feedback from those who know you best and put it together for a comprehensive view of yourself.

  4. Be curious and commit to lifelong learning: try to adopt the attitude of a child, looking at the world around you with awe and wonderment; ask questions and truly listen to the answers.

  5. Get friendly with challenges: know that if you mean to accomplish anything worthwhile, you will face many challenges on your journey; prepare yourself for facing these challenges, and for failing sometimes.

  6. Do what you love and love what you do: it’s much easier to succeed when you are passionate about what you’re doing; whether you cultivate love for what you already do or focus on doing what you already love, developing passion is important.

  7. Be tenacious: it takes a lot of hard work to succeed, but it takes even more than working hard—you must be tenacious, weathering obstacles and getting back up after each time you fall.

  8. Inspire and be inspired by others: it can be tempting to envy others when they succeed, especially if they go farther than you, but it will not help you to succeed; commit to being an inspiration to others and use the success of others to get inspiration as well.

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