Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

June 8, 2021

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The Power of a Growth Mindset  

In 2006, Carol Dweck (an American Psychologist) discussed her theories on Fixed and Growth mindsets in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”. Although her research was mainly focused on school-aged children, her works on Mindset can be applied to people at any age and stage of life.  

Simply put, a person has a fixed mindset if they believe that their talents, skills, and intelligence are just fixed traits. Meaning that there is nothing (or very little) you can do to improve and increase your talents, skills, and intelligence. It is also common for people with a fixed mindset to have a fear of failure and a desire to always appear as an intelligent person. They also might not want to challenge themselves in new ways to avoid any failure.  

On the flip side, a person who has a growth mindset is someone who believes that their talents, skills, and intelligence can always be improved. It is common for these people to always try to learn new things, challenge themselves, ask questions, and try new things in general or have lots of hobbies.  

So, after reading this, it may be fairly easy for you to determine which mindset you have. You may find yourself asking if one is better than the other as well. Although no one is “better” than the other. Dweck discovered through her research that people with a growth mindset are more resilient, are better at accepting criticism, and are able to easily find inspiration in the successes of others. All of these seem like good skills to have.  

If you are interested in changing your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, try these things:  

  • Acknowledge and embrace imperfections in self and others  

  • Cultivate a sense of purpose 

  • Learn from the mistakes of others 

  • Take risks in the company of others 

  • Remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint 

Now get out there and work on your growth mindset! What are some things that you do to embrace a growth mindset? Email us at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!  

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