Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mindset Explained

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset – 14 Ways To Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Anneke Schmidt, PhD

What do you think when someone tells you that they will “never be good at this?” Do you believe they’re right and should give up on their hopes for the future, or would you instead encourage them to keep learning?

Having a growth mindset can change everything. Once we start focusing on our ability to improve over time rather than our current limitations, we can learn to embrace new challenges and take opportunities we would never have deemed possible.

But this is just the starting point. Keep reading if you want to learn why having a growth mindset is essential to your development and how it can help you succeed even in the most difficult situations!

What’s the Difference Between Fixed and Growth Mindsets?

To understand why it’s important to focus on personal growth and continuous improvement rather than our current constraints, we need to comprehend the meaning of the two concepts, fixed and growth mindset.

Fixed Mindset

Having a fixed mindset means believing that intelligence and other traits are fixed at birth rather than developing and improving over time. This differentiation is most commonly attributed to educational psychologist and growth mindset pioneer Dr. Carol Dweck, who examines what makes people’s learning journeys not only successful but also enjoyable.

Dr. Dweck believes that two mindsets determine how people approach their lives – growth and fixed. Having a fixed mindset creates a “passive strategy” for learning which reduces self-motivation. People can easily fall into the trap of continually focusing on what they are not good at or are struggling with. In other words, if you believe your own abilities are fixed traits rather than developing over time, you will always concentrate on what’s not working and see setbacks as an end rather than a beginning.

Sad Smiley Face With A Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset

On the other hand, the growth mindset gets its name from how it promotes growth rather than only celebrating achievement.

Here are some growth mindset examples: when students develop a growth mindset from an early age (as opposed to a fixed mindset), they may concentrate on what they can learn from mistakes, look for new challenges to try next, or find creative ways of completing tasks, so they don’t feel stuck.

It is important to note that seeing personal growth as an integral part of the learning process does not mean a complete absence of difficulty or self-doubt. What it means is believing in your ability to learn from challenges without letting possible setbacks define you or keep you back. So, developing an attitude of growth opens up new opportunities and allows you to thrive in the face of obstacles.

Watering a Plant To Demonstrate Personal Growth

Why Having a Growth Mindset Is Essential to Personal Success

So, why is it important to focus on growth rather than your current limitations? Here are three reasons you might want to consider.

First, having a growth mindset enables you to feel good about yourself and excel in life, even when you’re struggling from time to time. When you concentrate on your growth potential, any challenge you encounter on the way is just another valuable part of the learning process. Rather than seeing challenges as insurmountable obstacles that will prevent you from achieving success in the future, they become opportunities.

Second, focusing on personal development allows you to embrace change. Change is an inevitable part of life, and it can be difficult to adapt when you’re not prepared for it. However, if you have a growth mindset, change can also offer new growth opportunities. Embracing change is essential for continuous personal growth.


And third, having a growth mindset, as opposed to having a fixed mindset, makes you more resilient. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks and continue moving forward. When faced with difficulties, cultivating a mindset of growth allows you to see them as challenges that you can learn from. This growth-oriented perspective empowers you to keep going even when things are tough.

14 Effective Strategies To Develop a Growth Mindset and Believe in Yourself

Want to be part of the growth mindset revolution? Here are 14 ways to cultivate an attitude of growth and lifelong learning.

Vision Board For Cultivating A Mindset Of Growth

#1 – Start Telling Yourself a Different Story

The first step in cultivating a growth mindset is to start telling yourself a new story based on self-acceptance and self-respect. How would your life feel different if you let go of your fixed mindset and said to yourself that making mistakes and learning from them was a natural part of the growth process? How would your identity be transformed if you embraced change as a way to stay resilient and continue moving forward in your own life?

Pay attention to the way you speak and think about yourself [1]. Does your inner critic influence how you see and evaluate your learning journey? Maybe it’s time to re-write part of your personal story!

#2 – Be Curious and Embrace Lifelong Learning

When you’re curious like a child, learning becomes a natural and enjoyable process. So, make it a habit to ask lots of questions and be open to new experiences.

To develop a growth mindset, it’s also vital to embrace lifelong learning. This means being willing to try new things, take risks, and face challenges head-on.

Person Engaged In Lifelong Learning

#3 – Recognize and Accept Your Shortcomings

One of the most critical growth mindset habits is recognizing your limitations and shortcomings. When you see your learning journey as an adaptive process, you can embrace your growth potential and learn from your mistakes instead of being paralyzed by them.

#4 – Concentrate On the Learning Process Instead of the Outcome

It’s also important to focus on the process of learning rather than the outcome. In other words, don’t strive for perfection – aim to get better and learn as you go.

For many of us, it is challenging to embrace learning difficulties, or even failure, as part of the process because we are so used to seeing challenges as a sign of our weakness. But failure is just a natural part of your development. So, the next time you’re struggling to reach a goal, try to focus on what you’re learning while working towards it rather than fixating on the desired result.

#5 – View Challenges as Opportunities

Challenges are not just obstacles in the learning journey; they’re also growth opportunities. When we understand that problem-solving is a necessary step toward our goal rather than something to be ashamed of, we cultivate a growth mindset.

When you approach challenges with this perspective, you’ll start seeing them as things to learn from instead of obstacles standing in your way. Once you recognize how valuable these experiences are in your lifelong journey of personal growth and development, you’ll finally be able to view them as opportunities to learn something new and develop critical life skills.

#6 – Choose the Right Learning Techniques for Your Learning Type

Whatever you do, don’t forget to select a learning technique that is suitable for your individual learning type. There are different types of learners and tools that can help you learn better depending on how you prefer taking in information. Here are just three examples:

  • Visual. A visual learner loves using charts, graphs, and pictures to learn. This type of learner might benefit from video tutorials with presentations or doing math problems on a whiteboard.
  • Auditory. An auditory learner learns best when they hear information presented in a lecture-style format, such as listening to an explanation about how ideas connect. People who prefer this learning style might also need background noise and work best in small-group discussion sessions.
  • Tactile. A tactile learner prefers to touch and feel things to learn, such as assembling a jigsaw puzzle. This type of learner might require more hands-on learning experiences and may feel overwhelmed by too much verbal information at one time.

Remember, there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to personal development, so try out some new things whenever you can! Creativity and innovation can help you to let go of your fixed mindset.

#7 – Prioritize Deep Learning Over Fast Learning

Deep learning takes time as it involves the development of essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and learning to learn.

People who master these abilities can think flexibly and creatively when transferring or applying their knowledge from one context to another, which, in turn, is a prerequisite for long-term memory formation.

#8 – Cultivate a Sense Of Purpose In Life

Moreover, it’s crucial to have a sense of purpose in life that connects you with your desire for growth. A sense of purpose gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and commit to your personal goals.

When you know why you’re learning something, you’re more likely to be motivated to keep going when things get tough or frustrating.

Want to learn more about self-motivation? Here are 13 Great Tips To Become More Motivated in life!

#9 – Set Yourself SMART Goals

Make sure that you set yourself SMART goals whenever you’re working towards a new milestone. SMART goals are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant, and
  • Time-bound.

Setting yourself challenging but feasible goals can help you stay focused and motivated over long periods, which is essential for learning new things.

#10 – Learn To Receive and Act Upon Constructive Criticism

Receiving constructive criticism can be difficult. It’s hard to hear that something you’ve done could have been done better or in a different way, but it’s important not to take constructive criticism and even negative feedback personally.

An effective approach is to think of constructive feedback as an opportunity for growth and to try thinking about the information from your criticizer’s perspective rather than your own.

#11 – Use Setbacks as a Chance To Develop Resilience

No one is perfect, and you will stumble along the way. When that happens, resilience is what helps you get up again without giving up on your goals or losing sight of who you are (or want to become) as a person.

Resilience can be defined simply as being able to “bounce back” from difficult experiences in life by finding constructive ways to cope with setbacks and disappointments.

One of the best ways to develop resilience is by accepting that failure is a part of life and that it’s okay not to be perfect. In fact, embracing your mistakes can help you learn from them and become even stronger in the long run.

#12 – Be Patient With Yourself Learning Takes Time

Allow yourself all the time you need to learn new things, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t pick everything up straight away. Sometimes learning just takes more effort than you think.

Learning takes time, effort, and practice – so be patient with yourself. Resist the temptation to speed up the process to reach your goal faster than you need to. Again, having a growth mindset means focusing on the learning process rather than the desired outcomes. So, take your time, relax, and enjoy the journey!

Hourglass to Illustrate That Learning Takes Time

#13 – Inspire and Let Yourself Be Inspired by Others

Inspiration and learning are closely related. When we feel inspired by others, we’re more likely to seek learning experiences that help us tap into our own creative powers. And when we’re the source of inspiration for others,  we feel good about ourselves and become more motivated to continue learning and sharing our knowledge with the world.

Make sure you allow yourself plenty of opportunities for inspiration so that you can continue on the path toward becoming the person you want to be.

#14- Choose the Right Role Models for Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Finally, when it comes to developing a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, make sure to choose suitable role models. For example, if your role model is someone who uses others’ mistakes and weaknesses as a chance to belittle and criticize them, it’s probably not the best idea for you to follow suit.

Be selective about who you look up to in life so that their growth-oriented approach to life can help motivate rather than demotivate your desire for lifelong learning and growth.

Role Model For Cultivating A Growth Mindset

The Bottom Line

Researchers use two mindsets to describe people’s attitudes towards themselves, their learning capacity, and goal orientation – fixed mindset vs. growth mindset. Having a fixed mindset means believing that your basic qualities, such as intelligence and talents, are fixed traits, whereas having a growth mindset means accepting they can be developed over time.

To stay motivated and increase your sense of purpose in life, you need to cultivate an attitude of growth and lifelong learning. To help you with this, this article has provided a list of 14 effective strategies to develop a growth mindset and believe in yourself – every day a bit more.

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