Is a success in life determined by your mindset? Some people can succeed despite having very difficult circumstances in their lives. Others seem to have trouble finding success even though they seem to have everything going for them. This comes down to a growth vs fixed mindset.

Why do people have one or the other? It all may come down to attitude and childhood. This article will look at what a fixed mindset is, five signs that you may have it, and how to challenge it.

What Is a Fixed Mindset?

A fixed mindset shows that things are static. They are not progressing or developing. This concerns things like character, creativity, and intelligence. None of these things are being challenged or nurtured and without that, they aren’t able to grow.

With a fixed mindset, the attitude is that these things exist exactly how they are and they can’t be changed in any meaningful way.

According to the fixed mindset principle: if you find success in life, it’s because you have adequate amounts of intelligence. Those with a fixed mindset see things as very black and white – there are no shades of grey.

Questions will only have a yes or no answer, and if you are wrong about something, you tune out what the correct answer is. Some may call this a one-track mind.

Those with fixed mindsets are not necessarily lazy or complacent – they still strive for success but want to avoid failure as much as find success. Those with a growth mindset embrace challenges and see them as an opportunity to grow.

The fixed mindset wants to maintain the status quo. We develop these mindsets at a young age and it determines a lot of our future successes and failures.

With this in mind, what are some signs you have a fixed mindset?

1. A Desire To Look Smart

Those who have a mindset that is fixed have a strong desire to always look smart. The appearance of being smart is better than actually being smart, according to this way of thinking.

It’s not just about how you are seen by others, but looking smart allows those with a fixed mindset not to work at it. If they look like they’re smart, then that’s good enough for them and no further work is needed. They continue to do things they already know they can do.

2. Giving Up When Things Seem Challenging

The person with a fixed mindset gives up easily when they run into challenges. Instead of overcoming an obstacle, avoidance is the name of the game.

Any challenges that push a person out of their comfort zone appear to be a threat and avoidance is the easier path to take. There is not a great desire for growth and giving up will seem like a safer approach.

3. Not Taking Constructive Criticism

Most people get their guard up a little when being criticized – that’s natural. However, when it is truly constructive criticism, those with a fixed mindset ignore it. Those with a growth mindset welcome constructive criticism as they see it as a chance to grow and improve.

The fixed mindset individual would rather bury their head in the sand and ignore anything that might help them. Criticism is seen as a challenge and threat and something they want to push away.

4. You Feel Threatened By The Success Of Others

This can be another natural human trait, but when it continues to happen, it may be the sign of having a fixed mindset. They may see other success as unachievable and it can cause them to plateau early in life.

The person with the mindset that is fixed will think it limits them in the amount of success they can have. They believe that others who have found it must have had it handed to them.

5. You Believe Your Partner Should Put You On A Pedestal

We’ve looked mostly at how having a fixed mindset impacts things like success and a career, but it plays into a relationship. Since the person with a fixed mindset thinks nothing needs to be changed or altered, they must have everything going for them.

Their partner should be able to recognize that they are “the perfect choice” and put them on that figurative pedestal. The person with the growth mindset wants someone to encourage them and challenges them to grow. They know that they are a work in progress.

How to Challenge This Mindset

The secret – as it is with anything – is to start small and not take on too much at once. Trying to do a full life overhaul, and change years worth of thinking will only lead to failure and frustration. You also need to recognize that changing and challenging this mindset will not happen overnight.

It will not be easy as you’re trying to change this ingrained thinking, but that’s exactly what we need. It’s about retraining your brain in how it perceives obstacles and challenges.

Starting with constructive criticism is a good place to start.

When you start to see this as people helping you, rather than attacking you, it can help you proceed into that growth mindset. It helps to start seeing people like this as partners and allies – and not opponents.

Find things you are passionate about and pursue them.

It may just be a simple hobby like gardening, but if you truly love it, you will naturally want to progress and develop at it. Working a job you don’t love can make it tough to achieve growth as it may not be your passion.

Find something small and allow yourself to learn and understand it as much as you can.

It may be a period in history you want to know more about or discovering a new musician. Gaining more knowledge and understanding of this new subject can encourage you that it’s possible with other aspects of your life.

Building up to bigger, and more challenging hobbies, will show you that growth and progression are possible.

It may seem simple, but it’s all about retraining your mind. Just remember, this is a process, and the focus needs to be on progress, and not perfection.

Recognize that mindset is a choice and this will help you on the way to changing it.

Final Thoughts

A fixed mindset can be a blessing and a curse. At its core, it’s all about self-preservation. However, when it gets to the point where it’s ruling your life, changes need to be made. The goal is to gradually shift yourself into a growth mindset – while realizing it will take time.

Living with a fixed mindset can lead to frustration and stress, and it’s important to remind yourself how much better life will be without those things in it.


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