Can our mindset change the course of our lives? Or should we only believe in fate and innate talent to sail us through a sea of opportunities?
People Have Two Kinds of Mindsets: A growth mindset and a fixed mindset. As the name suggests, a person with a growth mindset believes they can develop their capabilities and talents over time.
The Other Kind: The people with a fixed mindset believe talent and capabilities are innate. The difference is simple, but its implications on the person’s life are drastically different.
Here are the five crucial differences between a fixed and a growth mindset that can highlight why a growth mindset is the best:
Motivation vs Avoidance
Because a person with a growth mindset believes that talent and capabilities grow over time, they are self-motivated to perform on jobs.
They even take the initiative and ensure they put in all their effort to achieve their goals. They are not afraid of failure and are ready to accept challenges and perform even when there is a risk of loss.
On the other hand, a person with a fixed mindset tends to avoid challenges and doesn’t want to take risks because they fear failure. Because of this mindset, they are unable to accept challenges.
If you’ve seen the film ‘Yes Man,’ you’ll see how Jim Carrey’s character experiences changes in his life after he begins to say yes to every opportunity he gets. This is the main difference between a motivated and a resistant personality.
Effort vs Inertia
Because a person with a fixed mindset doesn’t believe in developing capabilities over time, they think practice and effort don’t matter. As a result, in the growth vs fixed mindset debate, the growth mindset will always win because they will try to polish their skills.
They will even be eager to learn new skills and implement these learnings in life. As a result, they will outperform those unwilling to make changes.
In the business world, if entrepreneurs don’t want to explore new opportunities because they believe their employees don’t have the skills they need, they will almost always fail. For example, in this era when companies are using Big Data to make crucial business decisions, companies are making big changes.
If a company hires new employees with data analytics skills but doesn’t invest in training them to use new tools, the employee skills will get rusty, and the competitor will beat them.
In 2023, there are multiple tools that data analysts can use to analyze data. In 2024, the number will be even greater. Some tools will become outdated, while others will get software updates.
Adaption vs Failure
When a person with a growth mindset fails, they are ready to reflect on their failure. They are willing to learn from their mistakes and improve their performance at the next opportunity they get. However, those with fixed mindsets are quick to give up. They treat temporary setbacks as failures.
In the business world, they will abandon ship completely if they aren’t achieving the small milestones leading to a greater goal.
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset will adapt to change the small milestones and, in the end, achieve the big victory because they are willing to progress, take charge of the situation, and have an open mindset.
One might even label them as positive and negative thinkers.
Inspiration vs Comparison
When people with a growth mindset see others succeed, they don’t get jealous. Instead, others’ success inspires them to change themselves and bring themselves to the desired level. A person with a fixed mindset believes that a successful person has innate qualities that result in their success. They demean the effort and struggle the other person might have had to go through to achieve what is only visible as the tip of the iceberg.
Because of their jealousy, people with a fixed mindset often see other people as a threat. So, they might even resort to means like devaluing their success or saying to them that their success results from their luck.
Feedback vs Criticism
Ever heard of constructive criticism? People who have a growth mindset can decipher constructive criticism as feedback. They are also willing to improve on these rather than just giving up. But it is easier said than done.
Many of us resort to being fixed thinkers when we receive feedback. This is because we believe we put in the maximum effort possible and didn’t achieve the desired results. Often, if the way that the other person communicates the feedback is negative, we tend to think that the fault lies in our innate abilities.
A fixed thinker also takes well-communicated feedback as a personal attack. They believe that they cannot put in more effort.
This close mindset doesn’t allow them to think outside the box. Additionally, they don’t believe multiple ways to achieve a goal exist.
And because they don’t believe they can improve their capabilities, they can even resort to unfair means to achieve a goal. For example, at a job, a fixed thinker could present another person’s efforts and ideas as their own because they don’t believe they can do it themselves.
Shifting from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset?
If you believe you cannot shift to a growth mindset, you are someone with a fixed mindset. Even if you are, believing in yourself and your capabilities is important. No human was born with the ability to walk and speak.
Eventually, we learned how to do it. Similarly, ten years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to do the tasks we can now. So, scientifically, our brains are always growing, whether we believe it or not. But we might as well accept it; after all, it will yield many benefits and more opportunities for us in the future.
If you’re an entrepreneur, allow employee mistakes, but never discourage them from trying. Often, small businesses do not have the budget to allot mistakes. However, if one considers money as an investment and not as guaranteed success, they’ll make it big in the future.
People with a fixed mindset don’t give due credit to practice, effort, and learning. As a result, they don’t achieve their goals and work on the opportunities that would give them success.
This article presents a different view on the differences between the two mindsets. It isn’t just belief in learning vs. belief in innate qualities. The implications of this mindset go beyond these few words.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.