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Fixed vs growth mindset

Could your mindset be holding you back?
Blog 321 fixed v growth

There’s been plenty of buzz lately around growth mindsets – pretty much ever since psychologist Carol Dweck coined the term in her book Mindset: the new psychology of success. Kids as young as primary-school age are being taught the importance of having a growth mindset, such is its influence over our ability to navigate challenges and persist in the face of failure. But if you have no idea what the different types of mindsets are, what they mean, and why it matters, then don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!

Breaking it down, there are two basic mindsets that shape our lives: fixed and growth. When you have a fixed mindset, it means you believe intelligence, talent, and other qualities are innate and unchangeable. A growth mindset, on the other hand, means you believe intelligence and talent can be developed with practice and effort. It’s pretty similar to positive versus negative self-talk; are you someone who listens to the little devil on your shoulder that discourages you from trying anything new or challenging, or do you listen to the angel, who’s more inclined to cheer you on?

While many people are familiar with these definitions, they’re sometimes unsure exactly how to put the concepts into daily practice. Here are some examples of how the two mindsets might influence your thinking in real-life scenarios:

Fixed mindset: Why learn new things when there will always be someone who is better at it than me?
Growth mindset: It’s always good to expand my skills.

Fixed mindset: I’m too old to learn.
Growth mindset: It’s never too late to learn.

Fixed mindset: I’m too shy to speak in public.
Growth mindset: With practice, I can become more confident and improve my public speaking skills.

Fixed mindset: I’m just not good at writing.
Growth mindset: Writing is challenging for me, but I know I can improve.

Fixed mindset: There is no more room for promotion; I might as well stick where I am.
Growth mindset: I know I can develop further; how do I do this to take my career to the next step?

If you’re keen to dig a little deeper into these ideas, check out this hugely popular TED Talk by Dweck herself; it offers a great introduction to the concept, highlighting how the two different types of mindsets can either help or hinder you when it comes to dealing with problems.

– The Coach Place Global

Image by Egor Myznik

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