To put it in a nutshell, people with a fixed mindset think their abilities are immutable, and that practice does not make perfect. The do not challenge themselves, and do not put in nearly as much effort into improving themselves as do people with a growth mindset. I found a good blog post that talks about the difference between the two mindsets. She uses John McEnroe frequently as an example of a fixed mindset; his losses were never his fault. She uses him as a bad example a lot. Perhaps they had a few bad dates or something.
I saw a fixed mindset a lot in the brief period I was a personal trainer, and in many conversations I have with people about fitness. A lot of people think they are in bad shape just because they are 40, or 50, or whatever. Yet these people also drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, have bad diets, do not exercise, or some combination of the above. They insist that their bad habits have no bearing whatsoever on their bad health. They just think “This is how things are.” That sounds like a fixed mindset to me.
She says that people can have growth mindsets about certain skills and fixed mindsets about others. She also says there are such things as innate talents and people do have limitations, but their limitations are usually far beyond what they think they are. I think that my mom tried to instill a growth mindset, but teachers and society were probably moreo successful in instilling a fixed mindset. Probably all those high test scores.
She talks about how to change your mindset in the last chapter in the book, and on one page at her website h They are:
- Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”
- Recognize that you have a choice.
- Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.
- Take the growth mindset action.
I wish there were exercises or mantras or something that could be done at the beginning or the end of the day. It can be hard to catch yourself in the middle of daily activities.
Image from Wikimedia. The Wikipedia page for “Mindset” linked to “Systems Theory“, which linked to some pages with pictures and graphs. I just looked for one I liked. It may not have any relevant to the topic.