Over the last few years, there’s been a quiet revolution in attitude. The notion of a fixed mindset vs. growth mindset is changing the way educators, entrepreneurs and inspired individuals approach challenges and implement change. People with a fixed mentality perceive their intelligence — and that of other people — as static. They’re driven by the idea that we’re assigned a level of ability at a young age, which remains constant.
The brain is such an extraordinary organ that we can develop our intelligence and ability at any age — with one caveat: You must confidently believe in your ability to adapt and change. Many individuals in our society leave school with a fixed idea of how intelligent they are. This limits them for the rest of their lives if it goes unchallenged. Read on to discover the key differences between growth mentality vs. fixed mentality, and find out how you can cultivate an attitude that facilitates positive change in your life.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset: What’s the Difference?
The most apparent difference between a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset is the way you respond to setbacks. Someone with fixed traits views failure as an affirmation of their inability to succeed. On the other hand, an individual with a growth mindset sees mistakes and supposed failures as opportunities to learn. The latter is open-minded to the idea that you just need to develop your skills further to achieve that particular goal.
When you have a fixed mentality, instead of focusing on how to tackle that challenge, you’re busy feeling ashamed. Growth mindsets encourage resilience and hard work because you understand that there’s always room for improvement. A famous quote from Thomas Eddison, which dates much farther back than the modern understanding of mindset, explains it perfectly:
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.”
To invent the lightbulb, he got it wrong 1,000 times before he got it right. His attitude and belief in his abilities drove him to keep trying. People with a growth mindset are much more likely to keep trying and not give up, which is a surefire path to success.
Where Does the Idea of Growth Mentality Come From?
Growth mentality isn’t a fad or a money-making scheme. Carol Dweck, a researcher for Stanford University, developed the theory after studying the attitudes and outcomes of thousands of young people. Dweck and her colleagues found that the level of belief you have in your basic intelligence as static or changeable impacts your ability to succeed in the future.
In these studies, they taught half of a group of children a growth mindset and left the other half with a fixed mindset, and observed their outcomes. They cultivated a growth mindset by praising the process of learning and rewarding effort instead of grades. This shifted the spotlight from either being a failure or success to focusing on the process, reserving the highest praise for kids who make the most effort. Across the board, the growth mindset kids saw vast improvements in their test scores, while the fixed mindset kids struggled to improve.
You can learn most skills with time, patience and hard work — and fixed mindsets often prevent people from putting in the effort. Intelligence depends on how much time you spend learning; it’s not a sign of your moral character or personality. You might be surprised by how much power our beliefs exercise over our behavior.
Beliefs and Behavior
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is emerging as one of the most practical and useful forms of modern therapy. Like mindset, the new psychology explores the inherent connection between beliefs and behavior. CBT teaches people that often, unwanted reactions occur as a result of fixed ideas we developed during childhood. These ideas can protect us emotionally at the time, but they can also lead to compulsive harmful behavior in adult life.
When we explore our beliefs and update them to reflect our goals as adults, we can adapt our attitude and behavior to be more conducive to success.
What Is Brain Plasticity?
When trying to understand the psychology of success, you must realize that growth is possible on a neurological level. The connection between beliefs and behaviors have been studied extensively and confirmed by neuroscience.
Recent advances in science’s understanding of brain plasticity demonstrate that our neural networks can grow new connections. Put simply; this means that we have much more power over neural growth than we’ve ever realized. By implementing good habits and continuing to follow them, even if the face of setbacks and failures, we can adapt our behavior.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising, working hard to develop skills, getting enough sleep, asking questions and flexing your creative muscle are all excellent ways of encouraging an adaptable mindset.
Basic Qualities of a Growth Mindset
When thinking about fixed versus growth mindset, you should focus on developing the qualities of growth mentality instead of trying to stop having a fixed mindset. It takes time to change the way you think, but as you gradually transform your attitude from limiting yourself to believing in yourself, you’ll notice the following qualities:
- You believe in your ability to develop your talents and intelligence with hard work
- Effort is the only path to mastery — no shortcuts or taking opportunities for granted
- Mistakes are opportunities to learn
- Setbacks and failures are temporary
- You thrive when you come across challenges
- Actively seeking avenues for honest feedback and criticism in view of improving
- You choose to be inspired by other people’s success, not resentful
Why is Attitude So Important in Business?
A company’s work ethic trickles down from the top. If you want to cultivate a hardworking, resilient and capable workforce, you’ll need to embody an entrepreneurial growth mindset.
By including a growth mindset in your company’s core values, you provide your workforce with opportunities to learn, and never miss a break yourself. You’ll be able to adapt to an ever-changing market, thrive outside of your comfort zone, welcome challenges and understand setbacks or failures as part of the process.
Launch Your Business Today
Now you know what it means to have a fixed vs. growth mindset, you’re one step closer to being the successful entrepreneur you were born to be. Get started with Michael Judd today and design the life you want for yourself.