The Difference Between a Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
Have you ever wondered about the difference between people who seem to always be jumping to the next challenge, constantly trying something new, doing amazing things with their lives, and those who seem kind of stuck?
There’s one key difference at the heart of it, and that’s mindset. One of these groups has a fixed mindset and the other has a growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset think, “Well, it is how it is and I can’t change it, so why bother trying?” They are less likely to try new things, less likely to push out of their comfort zones, and honestly, a lot of the time, they are less fun to be around! Every new idea is met with resistance and they love to complain about how things are but don’t want to try and make them better.
On the other hand, you have people with a growth mindset. This group of people views challenges as opportunities to grow. They might not know how to do something, but they are willing to put themselves out there and try, even when it’s hard or uncomfortable. This group thinks of themselves as lifelong learners.
Have you ever seen a news story about a seventy or eighty-year-old going back to college and graduating with a bunch of twenty-one year-olds? Those young-at-heart graduates have a growth mindset. They wanted to learn something new or they wanted to be able to say they finally got their diploma, so they went out there and did it!
It’s never too late to try something new. It’s never too late to adjust your mindset.
If you aren’t sure whether you have a growth or fixed mindset, use a few minutes to answer the three questions below. Getting out a pen and paper and writing down your answers is the best way to do this—you might be surprised at what comes out when you start writing.
- Do I feel resistance to answering these questions? If so, this may be a sign of a fixed mindset.
- What patterns do I have when I encounter challenging things? (For example: do you immediately start researching how to tackle a new challenge or do you try and avoid things you don’t know how to do?)
- When was the last time I tried something new? If you can’t remember, it’s time to make some changes!
And, you don’t have to start with something huge like going back to school. Want to learn something new? Start small—pick up a library book, download a podcast, or check your local community center to see if there is a class available.
Keep taking those tiny steps, and before long you’ll have discovered the secret of a growth mindset—small steps can add up to big changes!