Comparisons of Growth Versus Fixed Mindset

Growth mindset and fixed mindset might seem like opposites, and in many ways they are, but there’s more to it than that. These mindsets are different ways of looking at the world and of processing and using the information that we are presented with.

From a personal development standpoint, a growth mindset is preferred, but that doesn’t mean it’s better than a fixed mindset in other ways. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and having more of a fixed mindset or more of a growth mindset doesn’t determine what type of person someone is.

Furthermore, the vast majority of people don’t have either a pure fixed mindset or a pure growth mindset. It’s doubtful if a person with such a mindset even exists. All that can be said of anyone is that they have more of one type of mindset than the other.

Mindset is a tricky thing in that it can vary from one facet of life to another as well. This means that someone can have a strong fixed mindset in one arena and a strong growth mindset in another. As an example, imagine a person who is convinced pursuing romantic relationships is a waste of time (“I will never find love, so what’s the point?”) but excels at work and is constantly getting promotions.

Another important fact about growth versus fixed mindset is that no one’s mindset is static. It changes throughout the lifespan. It usually (but not always) becomes more mixed or predominantly growth mindset as people age. The changes are directed by innate personality and life experiences unless a person is actively involved in personal development.

Because mindset is changeable, it can be directed by both internal and external forces in one direction or the other. That is to say, you can direct your mindset into more growth mindset-oriented patterns, but so can other people. Educators and psychologists have designed numerous programs and developed multiple methods of doing this with students and employees. These programs seem to work, but the long-term effects aren’t yet known.

If you’re interested in learning which type of mindset you have, psychologists have designed quizzes you can take for this purpose. Some of them are available online for free but keep in mind that these aren’t comprehensive and provide only a small snapshot of the large portrait that is your mindset. They are handy for identifying specific areas you want to work on, however. Changing your mindset takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it.

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