growth mindset vs fixed mindset

The differences between a fixed and growth mindset

Moment by moment, day by day, we choose our mindset. When we start our day, begin a conversation or enter a meeting, we have a choice to make. 

Will you approach the situations that lay ahead of you with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

If you’re unsure of the differences between a fixed and growth mindset, keep on scrolling to discover what sets them apart and how you can set yourself up for success.


What science has to say about mindset

Dr. Carol Dweck is a world-renowned psychology professor at Stanford University and has conducted decades of research on achievement, success and their correlation to mindset. Through her research, she’s uncovered two distinct mindsets we can adopt. One leads to a greater sense of wellbeing and success while the other if adopted, will cause us to struggle with ourselves and our interactions with the world around us.

This isn’t to say that Dr. Carol Dweck is the only person who has researched mindset. There have been some great discoveries in the field of neuroscience in the last twenty years. The latest breakthroughs in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis prove that our brains have both the capacity to change and the ability to build new neural pathways, regardless of age.

While we once believed that our intelligence, personality, and abilities were unchangeable, science has since proven these beliefs wrong.


What’s the difference between a fixed and growth mindset?


Someone with a fixed mindset…

  • Avoids challenges
  • Gives up when faced with obstacles
  • Puts in a fruitless effort
  • Ignores feedback
  • Threatens the success of others
  • Is less likely to achieve their full potential


Someone with a growth mindset…

  • Embraces challenges
  • Persists through obstacles
  • Pursues mastery
  • Learns from feedback
  • Is inspired by the success of others
  • Is more likely to achieve their full potential


Is mindset a choice?

While we say that our mindset is a choice, the same choice made repeatedly over time becomes a habit. Just like wearing the same favourite outfit over and over. Regardless of whether you choose to hold a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, when repeatedly chosen it reinforces our neural responses and can become a more automatic choice.

If you find that you tend to lean towards a fixed mindset, and want to change that, start making conscious decisions about the way you are choosing to approach situations, tasks and people. If you can choose a growth mindset you’ll be more likely to achieve your leadership potential and go further over time.



How to switch your mindset

Growth Mindset is an interesting concept, right? To apply it, have a think about your leadership. If you step back to look at your approach to leading your team honestly, you may find that you have a growth mindset towards some things (or some people) and a fixed mindset to others.

For a moment, think about how you respond to certain people, tasks, ideas, and aspects of your leadership role.  Do you catch yourself saying (or thinking) things like, “Bob will never change” or “That idea is useless”. These statements are fixed, meaning you are limiting your ability to grow or lead others to grow.



Mindset resources

Want to delve deeper into the topic of mindset? Here are some resources that can help you on your journey.

A great TED talk by Dr. Carol Dweck.

An incredibly interesting podcast – LISTEN HERE

We often include mindset as a topic in our bespoke leadership programs. If you’d like to learn more about our core programs and customised programs have a sticky beak here.