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Untapped Potential | Karen Vally Life Coach

Which Mindset do you have - Growth or Fixed?

By Karen Vally on 14 Apr 2021



"For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to and whether you accomplish the things you value...I've seen so many people with their one consuming goal of proving themselves - in the classroom, in their careers and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality or character. Every situation is evaluated. Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?"

Sound familiar? Perhaps you know or have watched someone respond to a challenge in this way. People who have a fixed mindset believe that their qualities are pre-determined and thus cast in stone. They are driven by a constant desire to prove themselves. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is based on the belief that our gifts, talents and strengths can be cultivated, nurtured and developed through our own efforts to learn and grow. 

"Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behaviour, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness."

In one of her studies, Dr Dweck offered a group of four year olds two choices. The first was to re-do an easy puzzle and the second, to try a more difficult one. Those children with a fixed mindset, chose the easier puzzle whereas those with a growth mindset, chose the more difficult one. Dr Dweck discovered that the fixed mindset group wanted to be certain that they would succeed at the task in order to appear smart. The growth mindset children wanted to grow smarter by trying the more difficult puzzle.

In another experiment, Dr Dweck presented her older candidates with difficult questions in order to assess how they would respond to feedback. Those with a fixed mindset, paid attention only to comments on their current ability and ignored aspects that would help them to improve. They even ignored the correct answer to questions they had got wrong. Those with a growth mindset, listened eagerly to everything that would help them to increase their knowledge and develop their skills.

The fundamental difference between these two mindsets, is that with a fixed one, success is about establishing one's superiority whereas a growth mindset is driven by a realization that when we work our hardest, we become the best version of ourselves.

"When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world - the world of fixed traits - success is about proving you're smart or talented...In the other - the world of changing qualities - it's about stretching yourself to learn something new...The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially), when it's not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives."

   

 

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