Fixed Mindset: This mindset is rooted in the belief that an individual’s basic qualities, such as intelligence or talent, are static and unchangeable. People with a fixed mindset often believe that talent alone leads to success, and they tend to overlook the value of hard work and perseverance.

Growth Mindset: In contrast, a growth mindset is based on the premise that one’s core abilities can be developed and enhanced through dedication, effort, and adaptability. People who embrace a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. They believe that, with the right strategies and input, they can improve their intelligence and skills.

Identifying Traits:

Fixed Mindset Traits:

  • Avoidance of challenges for fear of failure.
  • Viewing feedback or criticism as personal attacks.
  • Feeling threatened by the success of others.
  • Often giving up easily after setbacks, attributing failures to lack of inherent capability.

Growth Mindset Traits:

  • Embracing challenges and seeing them as learning opportunities.
  • Viewing feedback as constructive and a tool for improvement.
  • Finding inspiration in the success of others and learning from them.
  • Demonstrating resilience and perseverance in the face of setbacks, attributing failures to strategies and seeing them as chances to adapt and learn.

Contrasting Views:


  • Fixed: Avoided due to the belief that failure will prove one’s inherent lack of ability.
  • Growth: Welcomed as they offer a platform to grow, learn, and evolve.


  • Fixed: Often seen as fruitless unless one already possesses the natural talent for a task.
  • Growth: Valued as the pathway to mastery and improvement, regardless of starting ability.


  • Fixed: Perceived as evidence of insufficiency, leading to a deflated self-worth.
  • Growth: Viewed as feedback and a necessary part of the learning process, leading to adaptability and resilience.

Practical Example:

Two students, Alex and Jamie, receive failing grades on a math test.

Alex (Fixed Mindset): Feels defeated and thinks, “I’m just not good at math. It’s not my thing. I will never be able to improve.” Avoids taking on additional math challenges in the future to prevent further ‘evidence’ of this perceived lack of ability.

Jamie (Growth Mindset): Is initially disappointed but reflects, “This area is challenging for me, but with more practice and maybe some extra help, I can understand and improve.” Seeks out additional resources, perhaps a tutor or additional exercises, to bolster understanding and performance for the next test.

Actionable Strategy:

Self-reflection activity:

  1. Think back to a recent challenge or setback.
  2. Write down your immediate reactions, feelings, and thoughts related to that event.
  3. Review what you’ve written and identify which mindset (fixed or growth) each reaction aligns with.
  4. For each fixed mindset reaction, try to reframe it into a growth mindset perspective. This will help in recognizing and gradually shifting mindset patterns over time.

With this exercise, participants can start the introspective journey of recognizing their inherent mindset biases and working towards cultivating a growth mindset.

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