Growing up as a child, I was (and probably still am to a degree) a perfectionist. And while this has served me well – helping to cultivate an incredibly hard work ethic and an intense desire to succeed – I was consciously very fearful of failure. I distinctly remember forgetting my homework assignment in Mrs. Gormbley’s 4th grade classroom one day and proceeded to have a full blown panic attack! This “fixed mindset” of “the world is ending” when I fail, held me back in life, from taking risks and from following my dreams. I was afraid to be “outside the box”.
Fixed mindsets believe that your skills, intellect, and social position in life are pre-determined and you can’t do anything about it. This mindset can be a very limiting and dangerous thought pattern, and encourages one to just “give up” and “accept the status quo” out of fear, even though it may be unacceptable to one’s heart and soul. With a fixed mindset, you’ll find yourself afraid to quit that job you hate, hesitant to get out of that emotionally painful relationship, or procrastinating on starting that new business venture. Sadly, fixed mindsets tend to blame others for their situations, instead of looking introspectively at what they could do to change their predicament in life.
In contrast, a “growth mindset” believes that your skills, intellect and talents can be acquired through hard work and perseverance. Growth mindsets don’t believe in limits, but rather believe the “pie” has an ability to constantly expand and get bigger. Growth mindsets believe you can shape your own destiny, which is why they rarely blame others for their lost in life and instead focus on ways to succeed. Growth mindsets aren’t afraid to take risks, learn or try something new. They look at failure as opportunities to learn and are able to pick themselves up and try again. And they celebrate others successes, because it provides inspiration, encouragement and motivation to succeed themselves.