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Do You Have a Fixed or Growth Mindset?

Our mindset can help determine whether we ultimately succeed or fail.

Do you think you're born with a certain, unchangeable amount of talent, or do you think you develop your talents? Believe it or not, how you answer that question says a lot about you. And it can reveal how likely you are to succeed in life.

Many psychologists and mental health practitioners believe each of us has one of two mindsets: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. What's the difference, and what does your mindset mean? Here are some answers.

Do You Have a Fixed or Growth Mindset?

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Originally developed by Carol Dweck, PhD, the concept of a fixed versus a growth mindset comes down to how we see ourselves and approach the world.1 If you see your talents and attributes as inherently unchangeable, you have a fixed mindset and are likely to approach the world with negativity and trepidation. If you see your talents and attributes as aspects you can develop, you have a growth mindset and are likely to approach the world with positivity and enthusiasm. This basic way of seeing ourselves can dramatically affect how we tackle challenges, handle failure, and progress through life. In many ways, our mindset is the most important—and noticeable—part of our personality.

Those With a Fixed Mindset Tend To:

  • See their talents and attributes as set in stone
  • Approach tasks with pessimism
  • Desire validation
  • View mistakes as proof of their inadequacy
  • Avoid challenges out of a fear of failure
  • Work to protect themselves from criticism 
  • Believe effort doesn't make a difference
  • Become discouraged by setbacks
  • Give up easily
  • React poorly to feedback
  • Feel threatened by the success of others  

Those With a Growth Mindset Tend To:

  • See their talents and attributes as changeable and improvable
  • Approach tasks with optimism
  • Desire self-improvement
  • View mistakes as opportunities to learn
  • Embrace challenges
  • Work to achieve mastery 
  • Believe effort is essential to success
  • Use setbacks as motivation
  • Keep going even when a task becomes difficult
  • React to feedback constructively
  • Feel inspired by the success of others  

Can You Control Your Mindset?

Obviously, a growth mindset can put you in a much better position to succeed than can a fixed mindset. But if you have a fixed mindset, can you change? The answer is: Absolutely. It's all about shifting how you perceive your ability to change and learn. If you think you have a fixed mindset that's holding you back, you should try to:

  • Recognize that you're imperfect and so is everyone else
  • Embrace new challenges
  • Try different learning techniques
  • Set goals
  • Take risks
  • Approach challenges from multiple angles 
  • Understand that failure is learning
  • Push through difficult challenges
  • Accept feedback as a necessary part of improvement
  • Take time to reflect on how you've grown
  • Understand that you can control your attitude  

How Can You Learn More About Personality and Psychology?

If you're interested in how we form and change our personality, you can gain plenty of new knowledge by earning a degree in psychology. In particular, a master's in psychology can be a great way to learn how the workings of our mind affects how we see ourselves and approach the world. And there's a lot you can do with this knowledge. There are so many careers in psychology, from helping others embrace a growth mindset to conducting research to leading teams in every type of industry.

Whether you were a psychology major or received an unrelated undergraduate degree, you can qualify for a master's in psychology program. And you don't have to give up your job or move to earn your advanced psychology degree. Thanks to online learning, you can earn your master's degree in psychology from home and on a schedule that allows you to keep working full time. In fact, with a growth mindset, you may be able to complete an online master's in psychology program faster than you could complete a traditional psychology master's program.

If you want to learn more about personality and start or advance your career in psychology, an online master's program in psychology can put you in position to reach your goals.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MS in Psychology degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,