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A Tale of Two Mindsets: Fixed vs Growth

A CONCERN: EAP Exclusive Article

Science is shedding some light on how the brains of successful people differ from others. Recent studies indicate that people’s behavioral traits typically fall into two basic mindset categories a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. These studies draw an interesting link between people who have a fixed mindset vs. those with a growth mindset, and how that pattern of thought impacts success. Consider this contrast between the two mindsets:

Fixed Mindset

A Fixed Mindset perceives intelligence as immutable and static and tends to:

  • Give up easily in the face of obstacles
  • Take failure as confirmation of perceived limitations
  • Place higher-value on perceived talent or intelligence
  • See effort as wasted or pointless
  • Take criticism personally and ignore useful feedback
  • Feel threatened by others’ success
  • Plateau early in life, not reaching their full potential

Growth Mindset

A Growth Mindset perceives intelligence as adaptive and expandable and tends to:

  • Persist when faced with obstacles
  • View failures as opportunities to learn and stretch
  • Place higher value on hard work and effort
  • See effort as the path to proficiency
  • Learn from criticism and welcome useful feedback
  • Feel inspired by others' success
  • Reach continually higher levels of achievement

Successful people typically fall in the “growth” category. By seeing ability as something that can be learned or improved and by focusing on growth and problem-solving they tend to achieve more and feel a greater sense of free will. People who are less successful typically fall in the “fixed” category. By viewing their abilities and intelligence as fixed assets and by avoiding challenge they tend to peak earlier and have a more closed, fatalistic view of the world. In other words, where a fixed mind sees only what is and what is not, a growth mind perceives what can be—opening a world of possibility. Embrace challenge, welcome change and view criticism as guidance for improvement and soon you’ll be on your own personal path to success.

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