Fix mindset vs growth mindset: Which one are you?

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Thursday 22 September 2016
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Fix mindset vs growth mindset: Which one are you?

We could generalise that from the mindset point of view, there are two type of people: People who believe in a FIX mindset and people who believe in a GROWTH mindset. The FIX mindset people believe that you are born with all your mental faculties, they are set in stone and can’t be change.

On the other hand, the GROWTH mindset people believe that you can change your mindset as much as you want, you can develop and improve it and master new subjects and abilities which you were lacking earlier.

For this article, I will assume that people are EITHER with a FIX or GROWTH mindset. That said, most people are both to certain degree. In fact, some people may have FIX mindset in some areas, say music, while being a pure GROWTH mindset in science. Neither is wrong, just what we chose to be.

There has been a lot of research on this matter and it is amazing how much your mindset can impact what you do in your life in general. When things are going well, both mindset do great things. It is when things don’t go according to plans that the difference between the mindset start coming out.

Those with the FIX mindset will struggle to come to term with things not working out and have excuses why it did not work, blame on something else, etc.

Then, there are those with a GROWTH mindset, which workout why things did not work out as planned and then act to avoid the same issue happening again.

Let’s take a university student as an example: After taking the mid-term math exam, the student got grades well below the expected outcome.

  • FIX Mindset: The reaction would be along the lines “the exam was too hard”, “I am not smart enough”, “I was not able to sleep well last night”, “the exam had questions we did not cover in class”, “there was a noise in the classroom that did not let me concentrate”, etc.
  • GROWTH Mindset: For this mindset, the reaction would be along the lines “the exam was harder than expected, so I need to prepare better next time”, “I know I can learn math, I will talk with the teaching assistant for advise how I can develop my math skills”, “last night I crammed and did not sleep enough, next time I will start studying earlier and make sure I have a good night sleep before the exam”, “there were questions I don’t remember covering in class, which I think took place those few days I was sick – Better ensure I get all the material from my friends when I miss any class”, “that noise in the classroom was annoying, so need to improve my concentration skills. This way, I will be able to focus on any task when needed”.

There are plenty of good examples of people that achieved great results in life with either mindset. Those with a FIX mindset were not able to sustain their success overtime, as new challenges came up. Those with a GROWTH mindset could adapt and overcome all new challenges and therefore achieving great results continuously overtime.

The best part of all this is that whatever you are, you can change, neither FIX or GROWTH mindset are wrong or right. It all depends on where you are in life and if you want to stay as you are or change. In other words, YOU have a choice and it is up to you which one you want.

One example on how powerful our mindset: Christopher Reeve. Christopher was a well known actor for his role as Superman in various movies from late 70’s to late 80’s. In 1995, Mr Reeve had an accident falling out of a horse and broke his back. The result was that he was paralysed from his neck down. All doctors and the medical science in general advised Mr Reeve “Get used to it as there is no cure.”

Mr Reeve refused that there was no way out. Why couldn’t he learn to move again? He then started an exercise routine where he would move all muscles in paralysed body by applying electrical stimulation. This was challenging routine, but then again, what else was he doing anyway?

Doctors were concerned and warned that he was in denial, he was going to be disappointed, it was not good, etc., etc. Mr Reeve persisted with his exercise routine.

Five years later, Mr Reeve started to regain some mobility, starting with his hands. Mind you, he never regained full mobility. He was far from having normal movement, but his brain did show activity that showed his brain “talking” again to the parts of his body below his neck.

Mr Reeve did show to us and everyone that you can re-train your brain to do things never done before and in some cases, things that were deemed impossible. He also made the medical science re-think what we knew the brain could do and triggered further research on how our brain work and our nervous system. This opens a whole new world of possibilities and hope for people suffering from spinal injuries.

So, back to my initial question: Fix mindset vs growth mindset:

  • Which one are you?
  • Which one do you want to be?

If you want to change, Ideal Thinking has some options, contact us and find out if they are a good fit for what you want.

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