How to recognise a fixed mindset.

13 Jan 2020
Author: Kathryn Chung
2 minute read

You may have heard the terms ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ thrown around in recent years. The mindset theory, pioneered by psychologist Carol Dweck has quickly gathered the attention of people around the world. So, what’s it all about?

What is a fixed mindset?

Simply put, mindset theory is based around the way we see the world. Mindsets are deeply held beliefs, attitudes or assumptions that we have developed about ourselves and the world we live in. 

While ingrained in us, mindsets can be shifted through experience and learning. Like a muscle, we can train our mindsets and work towards changing our attitudes. But like any transformation, it won’t happen overnight. Just like exercise, this takes time and effort – but it is achievable. 

The first step? Recognising the mindset we have.

Fixed vs growth mindset: what’s the difference?

A fixed mindset is centred around measures and judgement. In a fixed mindset, success is driven by the perception that your achievement is based on a number, a set goal. 

This mindset teaches us that our qualities are inherent gifts that can’t be changed and so we strive for success in these strengths, avoiding the things we are “bad at”. 

A growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that their basic qualities are things that can be cultivated through effort, strength and help from others. Rather than seeking perfection, people with a growth mindset seek experiences, learning and development.

How to recognise a fixed mindset.

If you’ve been brought up through a formal education system or work environment, you’ve probably been shaped through a fixed mindset. Because of this, most of us have a fixed way of thinking. 

The key thing here is to recognise and become aware of this mentality. It’s not something you can change overnight, but by becoming more aware, you’re on the path towards a shifting mindset.

So, what are the ways you can recognise a fixed mindset?

Understand your innate reactions.

Your gut reactions and automatic responses can reveal what kind of mindset you have. If someone says to you, “here’s this new opportunity” what do you immediately think? If you start thinking “that’s too hard” or “I don’t have the skills for that” it’s a sign that you view things from a fixed perspective. 

Reflect upon your capabilities.

Do you often doubt your skills? Do you look at a new challenge and think “I don’t have the skills for that”. A fixed mindset tells us that strengths are innate gifts that can’t be developed. 

Think about your attitude towards failure.

The ‘perfectionist’ attitude of a fixed mindset sees failure as a barrier to success. In this mindset, we avoid challenges or risks because we don’t want to risk failing.

How to embrace a growth mindset.

The great thing about mindsets is that they can be changed. If what you’ve read in this article resonates with you, then this is a great starting point to shift towards a growth mindset. 

But don’t worry, you don’t have to go at it alone. 

Our Mindset for Leaders workshop shows you how to shift your mindset to see the possible from the impossible. In a hands-on, interactive session, you’ll gain the tools to figure out where you want to be and create meaningful pathways to get there.

Sign up today