Do You Have a Fixed or A Growth Mindset?

By Tyler Tompson-


One thing that has helped me tremendously in my personal development over the last several years is understanding the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset and learning what they can teach us about ourselves. Carol Dweck, a psychologist and professor at Stanford, describes it perfectly and gives a TED Talk about the two. I highly encourage you to take the time to watch it — you can find it by clicking here.


A fixed mindset, as described by Professor Dweck, assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative abilities are static givens which we cannot change in a meaningful way. Success, then, is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence. This in turn pushes those to strive for success and avoid failure at all costs. Someone with a fixed mindset will show tendencies to avoid challenges, gives up easily, ignores useful negative feedback, gets defensive, and feels threatened by the success of others.


A growth mindset, however, leads to a desire to learn; it focuses on the process instead of the end result. Individuals with this mindset thrive on challenges and see their failures, not necessarily as areas of unintelligence, but rather a leap forward for growth. They learn from criticism, find lessons and are inspired from the successes of others, and embrace the difficult challenges in front of them.


Now, look at the following bullet points and answer each of the questions as honest as possible. Do you…


  • Avoid challenges –or– view them as opportunities?
  • Shy away from things you do not know –or– acknowledge and embrace your weaknesses?
  • Feel threatened by the success of others –or– are you inspired by the success of others?
  • Give up easily –or– persist in the face of setbacks?


If you answered “yes” to the first half of the question in each of the bullet points, then you are more in the fixed mindset category. If you answered “yes” to the second part of the question in each of the bullet points, then you are more in the growth mindset category. I know at some point in my life I would have answered “yes” to the first part in each of the bullet points… and that is OK!


Sometimes you are going to want to avoid challenges, steer away from difficult things, and give up when it gets tough. That is natural. If you think about it, flipping each of those and viewing them as an opportunity for growth will eventually lead to you building and growing your skillset.


Moving forward, try to challenge yourself to build and create a consistent growth mindset. Instead of avoiding challenges, ignoring criticism, and putting forth less effort, embrace those challenges, learn from the criticism of others, and put forth more effort. You’ll find yourself growing and developing every single day.


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Important TBR Updates


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