Fixed or Growth?

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Feeling stuck? Perhaps it’s because you have a fixed mindset.

According to this article, studies show that one of the main reasons people feel stuck and unable to move forward in life is because they have a fixed mindset, as opposed to a growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset think their talent is limited to their natural skill or ability, whereas those with a mindset think that they can always grow and do better, and that their potential is unlimited.

 Basically, a fixed mindset believes you have some quality or you don’t. You’re good at something or you’re not. You’re smart or you’re not. You’re beautiful or you’re not.

People with a growth mindset feel the opposite.

 Those with the growth mindset understand already that they can learn from those who know more than them. They believe they can get that good through learning and practice. They may seek out extra help. They may befriend people with a greater talent and find out ‘how they do it.’ They actually relish challenges because what they see is the growth, not that the challenge means there’s something wrong with them.

Unfortunately, most of us are stuck with a fixed mindset, and I’m no excuse. Though lately I have worked really hard on having a growth mindset, that fixed mindset is rooted deep. It takes time to squash. I often find myself bemoaning my lack of athletic ability, my tone-deaf voice, my total incomprehension to most things finance related… I chalk it up to my genes. My DNA.

But that’s bullshit. I can always grow and learn and get better!

(although anyone that’s actually heard me sing may beg to differ on that one…)

If, like me, you want to change this mindset, here are some tips (from the article):

1)  Learn to hear your fixed mindset voice:

 As you hit a setback, the voice might say, “This would have been a snap if you really had talent.” “You see, I told you it was a risk. Now you’ve gone and shown the world how limited you are.” “ It’s not too late to back out, make excuses, and try to regain your dignity.

2) Recognize that you have a choice:

 You can interpret challenges as a sign that your fixed talent or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them with a growth mindset as a sign you need to make extra effort, find new strategies and stretch yourself.

3) Talk back to it with a growth mindset:

So many personal issues never change because we don’t think to challenge them.

You need to challenge your fixed mindset with a new growth frame of mind.

So, ‘ my taxes are too difficult’ with ‘I can handle this by taking it slowly – one concept at a time. Each section mastered is a step forward, I’ve learned something new and I’m improving.

Even just telling yourself: “Plenty of  people have learned how to do this. I can learn this too and improve as I go.”

4) Take growth mindset action

Do something that reflects your new growth mindset.


If you need some more help, here’s a little sheet that I found quite useful.

Now let’s all get out there and start growing!



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jeanApril 25, 2012 - 12:18 pm

i like the sheet. i think i’m going to print it and tape it to my bathroom cabinet next to my resolutions. fitting to put them next to each other, for me.

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