Whether you are leaping into learning through college, university, or on your own time, there is one thing that is key. That is your mindset.
While these experiences in life will challenge you, it is your mindset that will determine whether you will succeed or fail. But also how much you grow.
In the end, our learning capabilities boil down to two mindsets that we must choose. Either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. This growth mindset vs fixed mindset relationship is everything and is your key to success.
What we might not be aware of is the fact that we’ve already selected that mindset years ago. So to help out, I’ve put together differences between these two mindsets so that you can identify the problems and begin to grow yourself.
Table of Contents
What Is a Fixed Mindset?
Coined by Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset, as she explains, is a mindset where everything is fixed. Whether it is your intelligence or your abilities, everything is the same.
If you’re not good at something, someone who has a fixed mindset will think you’ve never been good at it and will never be good at it. There is no opportunity for you to learn and grow at all.
What Is a Growth Mindset?
Compare this to a growth mindset and it’s the polar opposite. Even when someone isn’t good at something, a growth mindset ensures that the person thinks they’ll get better over time.
While you can already see some differences on the surface between a growth mindset vs fixed mindset, there are more aspects to these than that.
9 Differences Between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset
Digging deeper, you’ll find these mindsets to be different in all manner of things. This is a persons way of thinking and viewing the world. When we change how we view things, our entire lives change. Consider these differences.
1. Differences in Challenges
The first aspect is how they approach challenges.
People who have a fixed mindset will do everything they can to avoid challenges in their life. If there is an easier solution that their talents can overcome, they’ll take it.
Some examples of this are things like not studying for a test because they’re not good at the subject. That or only doing specific tasks at work that they know they can do with little issues.
On the other hand, those with a growth mindset embrace challenges in their lives. Yes, some of the work or effort may come out short, but they understand failure is part of learning.
What matters to them is that they have tried their best in those moments. After that, they learn and grow from the experience.
2. Differences in Handling Feedback
Second is how each one handles feedback and criticism.
For those with a fixed mindset, they will react in a negative way. Some will hate you and harbor disdain while others will ignore or avoid it as much as possible.
For those with a growth mindset, they view these talks as opportunities to grow. While it’s about their work and efforts, they don’t see it as an attack on their abilities. Provided that the criticism is valid, these individuals will take it to heart and incorporate it into their lives.
3. Difference in Intelligence
In particular, the belief of intelligence.
As I mentioned above, a fixed mindset is fixed. So when it comes to intelligence in a topic or skill, you either have it or not.
On the other hand, someone with a growth mindset believes that intelligence isn’t an inherent skill and can be developed. They believe that if they put in enough effort, things will move along.
4. Differences in Tolerance
What I mean by tolerance is how long people can tolerate something before giving up or stopping.
For those with a fixed mindset, these are people who give up too easily. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as I mentioned already they like to avoid problems and challenges. Any sort of roadblock will destroy someone if they think this way.
Those with a growth mindset though, are persistent and try harder. They’re not ones to shy away from challenges. And even if they fail, they try again later.
5. Differences in Viewed Success
It’s also worth looking at how the growth mindset vs fixed mindset view success.
For a fixed mindset individual, they are often jealous of those who succeed in anything. Deep down though, these individuals experience self-doubt which turns in jealousy but also insecurity.
Compared to a growth mindset individual, they get inspired by seeing others succeed. In many cases, they even help others around them succeed. That’s because they believe in themselves and feel they can help others too.
6. Differences in Failure
To no surprise by this point, those with a fixed mindset will shield themselves from failure. If they ever experience it, it’s often a negative experience. In fact, many people get stuck on one failure for their entire life.
It’s as if one failure has barred them from ever putting in effort into that area again.
But those with a growth mindset don’t have the word “failure” in their vocabulary. They see these as setbacks or opportunities to learn. They’re more eager to learn from their failures and are willing to grow as a person.
7. Differences In Learning
Their attitude about learning also is a key difference too.
For those with a fixed mindset, they stop learning after post-secondary. They think that the learning ends after that point and you have to use that knowledge for the rest of your life.
Those with a growth mindset though know the truth though. They know industries, people, and the world changes around them. We live in an information age where more information is being put out every day. They recognize that learning doesn’t stop after college or university. It’s only starting.
8. Differences In Confirmation
One aspect that Dweck touches on in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is the desire for confirmation between the mindsets.
I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves — in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? . . .
For those with a fixed mindset, this is a constant element for them. They need to prove to themselves and to others that they are valuable. It’s akin to our kids posting on social media for validation. Their attitude about themselves is judged by how many likes or comments they get.
It all boils down to numbers.
For those with a growth mindset, this aspect doesn’t exist. Sure there is some confirmation, but it stems from inside rather than from outside sources.
As Dweck explains in her book:
Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.
9. Differences in Effort
While this is an obvious one on the surface, there is more to it than that. After all, a mindset is developed through events and how we interpret those events in our lives.
For the fixed mindset, while they will do anything to avoid any negative events, that desire stems from deeper beliefs. Yes, they think everything is a fixed level, but that belief stemmed from how they were raised.
In the end, those with a fixed mindset believe that effort stems from their own abilities they had already.
Compare that to a growth mindset, their belief system is that effort stems from their current effort in developing something. They believe that effort stems from the action of doing something and learning from those experiences.
Being able to recognize the differences between growth mindset vs fixed mindset is key because it shapes our reality.
Even if you have a few of these aspects in the fixed mindset category, they can cause some problems.
People have given up doing something all because they experienced one failure or major setback in life.
If you think you need the approval of your talents, it suggests a lack of confidence in your skills. This can translate to how much you want to challenge yourself and develop yourself in that area.
A mindset shapes our view of the world and the people that are in it. When we change our mindset to that of growth, we clearly see the world in a different light. By developing yourself in this area and adopting this mindset, you too can change your life and grow more than ever.
More on Thinking Smarter
- How to Think Smart (If You Think You’re Not Smart Enough)
- 8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More
- How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You
Featured photo credit: Adolfo Félix via unsplash.com
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