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Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset – The Two Approaches That Shape Many Aspects of Our Lives

From academic performance to relationships, the power of mindset influences almost all facets of life.

Over the years, psychology has taken a keen interest in the science of achievement. The role that our belief systems play regarding our abilities and approach toward success is the field’s main focus.

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck, a researcher at the University of Stanford, took a simple idea that most of us had heard before and synthesized it into something relevant and impactful. The familiar idea is that we should be open to challenges and take them as learning opportunities rather than avoiding them because of fear of failure.

She cites examples from a wide variety of fields, including sports, business, parenting, etc. and makes a comprehensive point. She generally divides humans’ approach into two types of mindsets: growth mindset and fixed mindset.

Fixed Mindset

Being in a fixed mindset, people believe that their abilities have already been established and cannot change. They believe that everybody has their specific amount of potential and that’s the end of their story. Their goal is to play it safe, do things they are good at and never look foolish.Article32

Growth Mindset

On the other hand, people with growth mindset believe that their skills and abilities can be enhanced. They also understand that to do that, they have to put in a lot of effort and hard work. They are always willing to try new things and are never afraid to fail.

According to researcher Brain Pickings, Dweck wanted to study how these mindsets are born and develop. It turns out: pretty early in life.

Dweck and her colleagues gave four-year-olds a simple choice: They could either solve an easy jigsaw puzzle again or they could get a harder one to solve. Kids with fixed mindset chose to be on the safe side and took the easier puzzle so they could solve it and feel good about themselves. Kids with growth mindset were really surprised as to how someone would want to do the same puzzle again.

Things got a touch more interesting when Dweck and her colleagues brought people into brain wave laboratory and asked several questions to check how they received feedback. It was found that people with fixed mindset were only interested in feedback that affirmed their existing learning and tuned out any information that might have helped them learn and grow. On the other hand, people with growth mindset did not care whether they had gotten the answer right or wrong – their focus was on expanding their existing knowledge.

Scott Burrows, a business keynote speaker, completely understands the power of mindset. With research-based content, this inspirational corporate speaker helps companies’ employees move from fixed mindset to growth mindset. Here’s what his corporate clients have to say about him.

Lisa Scholfield

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