Upon first listening to Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” back in 2020, I learned that there are two types of people in this world: those with a fixed mindset (a.k.a. certain things are always going to be a certain way, so why bother changing them?), and those with a growth mindset (a.k.a. change is possible, and I can do something about it).
If you're smart enough to be a reader of my blog, you're smart enough to know that most humans lives in an unconscious fixed mindset. They're not bad people; they abide by the status quo because it doesn't threaten them. Rather, it gives them certainty that what they're doing is on par with society's standards (which, if you think about it, are kind of screwed-up). Why examine or change anything if it means discomfort, or worse, standing out for being different? In short, having a fixed mindset means living in the matrix.
But with COVID-era disruption still occurring, more people have had to adopt a growth mindset (self included). New industries, new leaders, new everything have caused people to question, readapt, and change. We've adjusted to new circumstances (because staying the same wasn't an option).
Here are 9 signs of a growth mindset (and its fixed counterpart).
You know that you’re going to be bad before you’ll be good. Let's think of the classic case of learning how to ride a bicycle. Were you amazing right off the bat? Could you cycle on your own? Or, did you have training wheels with Mom and Dad trailing behind you? A fixed mindset says, "I'll always need help. I'm just no good"; growth says, "I'm making progress."
It may take longer than expected. Learning something new usually doesn't happen overnight; it may take time for those neurons to rewire themselves. A fixed mindset says, "why hasn't this happened sooner?"; growth says, "Let me be patient."
You find joy in making improvements. You realize that the journey is in making improvements to your process. You find ways to make it easier, better, faster, clearer; that gives you a high. A fixed mindset wonders, "Is that all there is?" while growth marvels at the progress.
You have eyes on your own process (not others'). It’s not about competing against other people; it’s about competing against previous versions of yourself. Fixed always wants to compete and shame others (or the self); growth is focused on her own race.
You know that this is not the easy route. Pursuing something new is going to take you to new places in life (and in your head). A fixed mindset shies away, wanting it to be as easy as ordering a movie on Amazon Prime; growth relishes in the difficulty.
There will be discomfort. Because, hello, that's growth. But think of it like soreness after working out; growth has earned the burn while fixed would've never put up with it.
You neutralize obstacles. In a growth mindset, you stop taking obstacles personally. Instead of uttering the whiny "why me?" of the fixed mindset, you wonder, "what can I learn from this?"
You’re willing to work. Pursuing something new is not easy. You’re going to have to work a lot to get to what you need, but you're up for the challenge. A fixed mindset would rather just dream than do.
You learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are a universal part of the human experience. (Learning from them, however, is not). When you make a mistake in the growth mindset, you acknowledge what worked, what didn’t, and what to do next time. Fixed's ego is bruised and takes it personally.
Growth is not always pleasant, but you get so much more out of life when you embrace it and take the red pill.