What Is A Fixed Mindset vs A Growth Mindset?

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Living up to my totally real, don't google it, nickname Matty Self-Introspection, I have been thinking a lot about growth recently. 

I’ve been pretty open about wanting to constantly be growing, both physically and emotionally.

Physically is apparently a sailed ship according to my increasingly annoyed doctor, so that leaves just emotional growth.

But, lately it felt like I hit a rut on exactly how to be growing in all areas of my life.

It’s one thing to say you want to grow but another to want to know how to grow, and taking the steps to make sure you are growing.

It’s like the old proverb, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he will create a blog around having a growth mindset around fishing and how blockchain will revolutionise the fishing space.

Essentially, I’ve been grappling with the idea of how the way I think and act in my day-to-day is affecting my emotional growth. You know, things like do I overuse humour and inane metaphors in blogs that are meant to be serious as a coping mechanism which inevitably means I struggle to connect through my writing? Nah, couldn't be me.

That’s why I’ve been doing a lot of reading and self reflection recently, and once I realised that Chinese takeaway menus and Reddit subthreads on the migration patterns of Larus Argentatus aren't going to cut it, I stumbled across the work of Carol Dweck, who posited that there are two mindsets we can go through life with : fixed or growth.

Despite being someone who is very open to growth, I have definitely been guilty of having a “fixed” mindset, which means that I view some aspects of my personal development/journey as stable, unchangeable and governed by factors outside of my control like genetics, environmental determinism or the ol reliable “it is what it is”. 

This fixed mindset leads me and others to accept mediocre or less than satisfactory aspects of our personality and instead of working on them, almost trying to embrace them in a form of self-acceptance that ultimately leads to less growth.

Now, I’m not saying that I want to change my entire personality, or am straying into full-on bro life coach mode where I'm taking cold showers, self-flagellating and listening to Jordan Peterson podcasts whilst eating aquarium gravel and doing deadlifts.

But what I am saying is I need to adopt a growth mindset towards my personal journey, rather than one of blanket self-acceptance regardless of outcomes.

So what I thought may help myself and hopefully you reading this is to list out the characteristics of a fixed and growth mindset, so we can work on adopting the latter better.

What does it mean to have a fixed mindset?

Having a fixed mindset means believing that abilities and intelligence are static traits that cannot change. People with a fixed mindset avoid challenges, fearing failure, and often feel threatened by the success of others.

People with a fixed mindset might have the following thoughts:

What does it mean to have a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort, learning, and persistence. Individuals with a growth mindset embrace challenges, learn from criticism, and find inspiration in others' successes, viewing failures as opportunities for growth.

People with a growth mindset might have the following thoughts:


As I continue to adopt a growth mindset, I’m probably going to write another blog, similar to my “be curious” blog, on how I’m getting on, or if it goes entirely terribly, expect a blog on something completely insane like the eight things marketing teams can take from the plight of the narwhal.

In the meantime, stay safe and happy my friends, and keep growing :)

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