The Leadership Blog

Fixed Mindset VS. Growth Mindset

fixed mindset growth mindset leadership leadership advice personal growth professional growth Apr 15, 2024

“Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” John Maxwell Leadership expert/author

I don’t think there’s ever been a truer quote than that.  Growth doesn’t just happen.  It’s a lifetime process that exists through our daily decisions. Today I’m exploring the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

When I was a kid, I loved the Peanuts comics and couldn’t wait to watch all the holiday specials on TV, but Charlie Brown always made me sad.  My heart hurt for the lovable blockhead who seemed to have a fixed mindset. He never learned that every time he tried to kick the football, Lucy was going to pull it out from in front of him.

Stanford professor and author of the book “Mindset” Carol Dweck describes a fixed mindset as people who see their qualities as fixed traits that can’t changeWhile a growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can change through your effort.  Below I’ve listed two columns that will help you develop a greater understanding of the two mindsets.

Fixed Mindset                                                   Growth Mindset

Abilities are unchangeable                                 You can improve through practice

Failure is permanent                                           A chance to learn and pivot

View feedback as critical personal attacks         Tools to improve and develop

Choose easier tasks, minimal effort                    Embraces challenging tasks to improve

Give up when facing obstacles                           Obstacles=opportunities to experiment

Measure accomplishments                                 View life as continual improvement

Less likely to take creative risks                         Sees risks as a way to innovate/improve

“A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” Bruce Springsteen

To me that means, what are we doing to make ourselves better?  How are we continuing to have a growth mindset?  I think you can tell from my weekly blogs that I love learning.  I had this realization when I turned 30 that sort of freaked me out.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  Think about that for a second.  It’s a scary concept and I wanted to start focusing on learning again.  That’s when I became intentional about my personal growth and read my first John Maxwell book.  I’ve been a convert of the growth mindset ever since and have never stopped learning.

“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying.” Lou Holtz former Notre Dame Football Coach

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”  Eleanor Roosevelt former first lady

Let's not act like dying requires practice. Embracing a growth mindset is not just a personal philosophy; it's a transformative approach to life. By recognizing our potential for growth, learning from failures, and persisting in the face of challenges, we unlock doors to success and fulfillment that a fixed mindset would keep firmly shut. It's about viewing obstacles as opportunities, setbacks as stepping stones, and failures as lessons. So, let's cultivate resilience, curiosity, and a belief in our capacity to improve. Let's choose growth over stagnation, and in doing so, we’ll embrace a mindset that not only shapes our individual journeys but also enriches the world around us.