Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets that Shape our Lives

We are in the era of change. Who knew that our whole social lives would be virtual now?

There are two opposing viewpoints in this situation. In an introvert’s world this is a miracle filled
with a lot of time indoors and surfing on the web. You might be learning a new skill by taking a
new class and your days might be filled with a novel series. You might have time to pick up a
new hobby such as cooking or you might be writing music and riding on the waves of creativity.

On the other hand, in an extrovert’s world you might be biting your nails to the point of bleeding,
antsy and restless surfing the web to see when the COVID cases might decrease. You might be
calling your friends non-stop and you might be trying to coordinate get togethers, researching
food spots that are open with open outdoor seating. You might have been disappointed to hear
that you’ll be working remotely.

Despite recent changes, our mindset can hinder us or help us grow. Stanford Psychologist Carol
Dweck did research into mindset and the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious,
and how changing even the simplest of them can have a profound impact on nearly every aspect
of our lives.
Dwek found in her research that one of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves has to do
with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.
Her further research shows that a “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and
creative ability are static givens which we can’t change. In a nutshell, this is a mindset that
defines success as the affirmation of that inherent intelligence and striving for success and
avoiding failure is a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. On the other hand, A
“growth mindset” thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a
springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. These two mindsets are
responsible for our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and
personal contexts.

The growth mindset changes your perception in anything that you do. It converts a chore and a
hunger for approval to passion for learning and experiencing. Albert Einstein stated that “a
person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”. This is at the heart of the growth
mindset and that failure is not opposite of success but it is part of success. Having a strong
mindset to combat challenges and seeing personal and professional challenges to get better in
certain areas helps your skillset and character.

You won’t ever know how excellent you are until you take certain risks. The human brain can do
anything if you have resilience and a fail-forward perseverance. Churchill said it perfectly that
“success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

A few books that will help you grow professionally and personally are:
– The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
– How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
– The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
– The Four Agreements

Which mindset do you currently have and if it is not serving you, how will you change it?