Growth/Fixed Mindset 101


Growth/Fixed Mindset 101

In study performed at Stanford University.  Dr. Carol Dweck who is also the author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, discovered that people generally have two distinct mindsets when it comes to aspects of life.  A fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  Given my profession and the area of my expertise I’m going to choose to relate a lot of which I’m going to discuss to training and exercise, however all of this is applicable to any aspect of life.  As I write and use the word training you can interchange it with the word intelligence or a given skill set such as painting, carpentry, shooting a basketball, communicating, you name it.

However before we dive too deep into this topic I feel it’s important to note that people can have varying degrees.  You may have a fixed mindset when it comes to certain things and you may have a growth mindset when it comes to others.  My goal with this is to hopefully help you start asking yourself the question of am I acting, operating and making decisions based on a growth or a fixed mindset.  Now what do those two terms mean?

What is a Fixed Mindset?

In regards to training fixed mindset individuals tend to believe we’re born with certain abilities.  They would agree that we may be able to learn new things, but in general you can’t change the ability you were born with.  These individuals tend to avoid challenges out of fear of looking less talented, and therefore have a tendency to give up easily, see effort as useless or wasteful, ignore useful negative feedback and feel threatened by the success of others.  They tend to have a deterministic view of the world.

A Fixed mindset individual would typically agree with statements such as:

“What’s the point of working hard, I’ll never be able to accomplish that.”

“That person was blessed with great genetics which is why they’re able to do that.”

“It’s fill in the blank’s fault I’m not where I should be, everyone is against me.”

“If I try or ask that I’m going to look like an idiot, so I’m not even going to try.”

“If I fail or lose it will prove that is exactly what I am, a failure or loser so failure is not an option.”

What is a Growth Mindset?

People with a growth mindset believe that with training skills and abilities can be developed, which leads to a desire to learn more and embrace challenges.  Which ultimately allows them to persevere in the face of setbacks.  Growth mindset individuals see effort as a path to mastery, they learn from criticism and find lessons from the success of others.  As a result tend to reach higher levels of achievement and a greater sense of free will.

A Growth mindset individual would typically agree with statements such as:

“I’m going to put forth my best effort and perhaps one day I will learn how to accomplish that.”

“That person must be extremely dedicated and works very hard to be able to accomplish that.”

“Ultimately it’s my fault I’m not where I want to be, but if I continue to put forth my best effort and learn perhaps I can get there.”

“If I try or ask this it will allow me to learn and possibly could help someone else in the process.”

“By failing or losing it allows me to learn and grow so I can apply what I learned to a future experience.”


















Mindset: The New Psychology of Success @2006 by Carol Dweck, Ph. D.

NY: Roandom House

Mindset graphic: Nigel Holmes (