Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset, As Opposed To A Fixed Mindset?

Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset, As Opposed To A Fixed Mindset?

Pop Quiz: which of the following describes a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset?

A. Believing your talents, abilities, and intelligence can be developed in a variety of ways and that natural talent as an indicator of future success is largely a myth.

B. Believing what you are born with determines who you are. In other words, you are either born with the success molecule or you are not.

C. Believing aspects of yourself, such as your IQ number, your talents, your emotional health, your personality traits are a fixed set.

D. All of the above


A. Believing your talents, abilities, and intelligence can be developed in a variety of ways and that natural talent as an indicator of future success is largely a myth.

Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset, As Opposed To A Fixed Mindset?

Dr. Carol Dweck is a pioneer in the psychology of mindsets and has collected an impressive amount of data in her research on individual behavior and ability. She discovered two different mindsets that appear to be fairly predictable in terms of the outcomes they produce, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset respectively. I’ll provide a brief outline, but check out her book for a deeper dive.

What is the fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is believing your talents, abilities, and intelligence cannot really be developed in a variety of ways and that natural talent as an indicator of future success is largely accurate.

This particular mindset tends to forge a bias of inaction. Why? Because you will tend to only try things where you already have a level of competency. 

All effort is futility for this individual. Why? Because abilities are either present at birth or nonexistent. 

Why try if you’ll only fail? 

John Dupuy of Integral Recovery challenges this line of reasoning and demonstrates with precision its irrationality:

Much has recently been written about the science of practice, transformation, and indeed the creation of genius and extraordinary abilities. We have been living with the old cultural story that some of us are just born with “it” for a long time. Genius, that is. They are “naturals.” Individuals such as Mozart, Ted Williams, Jimi Hendrix, and others have been used to bolster this idea of born geniuses. 

Well, apparently we got it wrong. Geniuses are not born; they are made. 

People of extraordinary ability and talent are crafted and honed in the fires of persistent, dedicated, deep, and deliberate practice. 

Several recent books, such as The Talent Code, Talent Is Overrated, Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, and The Genius in All of Us are pointing out a new story in which extraordinary abilities are created—not given—which puts us completely back on the hook of responsibility for achieving our highest abilities and our greatest calling. 

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Again and again, when we begin to look into our cultural assumptions of being born a genius or a “natural,” we find another story emerging. The young Mozart did not write musical masterpieces, but he did have an extraordinary music teacher in his father. 

Mozart’s early musical works were quite repetitive and unoriginal in their structures. It was not until later in life that Mozart created his true masterpieces. 

This was after having written hundreds, if not thousands, of musical pieces and scores prior to his breakthroughs. The young Mozart was brilliantly trained by his father and exhibited a profound curiosity and passion for learning. 

And again, Ted Williams’ perfect swing was crafted from his childhood with hours and hours and hours of practice on his own or with the help of his young friends. 

In a study at a top English academy of music, the questions posed were, What causes greatness in the students? 

What is the difference between the top students, those who are assured of going on to have careers as soloists on the stages of the world; students who will become journeymen, instrumentalists, and third or fourth chairs in orchestras; and the marginal students who are barely keeping up in school and who will most likely fail. 

The one constant, found across the spectrum from the very good students to the average and the mediocre, was the amount of time spent practicing daily. It was not economic, it wasn’t ethnic, and it wasn’t even students’ IQ scores. 

On average, the master students practiced 2 hours a day, the average students practiced an average of 45 minutes a day, and the poor students practiced an average of 15 minutes a day. 

Researchers also looked at the question, If practice is the key to greatness in any particular activity (or line), then what characterizes this transformative practice, and why do some people do the hard work and others not. 

Deep and deliberate practice, as it has been characterized, is often not fun and can be challenging, difficult, and sometimes even boring. 

So, how does this happen? More often than not, researchers found that there is an initiatory experience, such as the young Eric Clapton had upon hearing an old blues record on the radio, or some experience that acts as an attractor and inflames the imagination of the future master. 

Many times there is a skillful mentor or coach who helps the young student, in the early days, on his path to mastery. 

After the initial phase, the practice and the practitioner take on a life of their own. There is an intrinsic joy to practice, and the better one gets, the deeper the particular activity becomes; it begins to reveal itself as a field of almost infinite learning and discovery. 

Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset, As Opposed To A Fixed Mindset?

Now, if you are reading this and thinking, “Oh, I am old, and I never had a flashbang experience like Eric Clapton, and I don’t and never did have a great mentor and teacher,” the good news is that most extraordinary achievers were and are late bloomers. 

Most often, child prodigies do not blossom into great achievers as adults. They seem to do pretty well in general, but on average they don’t achieve great things as adults. 

The theory is that this happens because they are rewarded for their particular gifts and then don’t have much motivation to push beyond that ability. 

A test was done with two groups of students, who, after they had performed a particular activity, were told either, “You’re really smart at that” or “You must have worked really hard to be able to do that.” 

Later, when the two groups were given new and challenging tasks to perform, the ones that had been praised for their hard work were eager to get on with the new challenge, and those who had been praised for their natural ability and smartness were not. What happens in adult great achievers is that they come to the realization that the process of self-improvement is in their own control.

This is aptly called by Dweck the Growth Mindset.

What is the growth mindset?

The growth mindset is a belief that your basic qualities, including intelligence and talent, can be developed and perfected through effort. 

This means that while people may be innately different, with certain aptitudes and temperaments, all aspects of a person’s abilities and personality can be changed!

It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to notice that people with a growth mindset see the world differently. In fact, they live in an entirely different world.

They have faith that effort equals competency. 

They believe that practicing and learning something will naturally yield better results.

Failure doesn’t mean futility, it transitions to feedback – a learning experience.

Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset, As Opposed To A Fixed Mindset?

If these people think they’re not good at something they see this as a signpost that harder work is required. 

It’s actually the most common-sense approach.

Our experience should immediately validate it.

Unfortunately, most of us never try and thereby validate our fixed mindset. 

Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset, As Opposed To A Fixed Mindset?

One thing I’ve observed between the two mindsets is that a fixed mindset determines its worth by social approval, validation, and acceptance. This is the main reason failure isn’t an option, because unconsciously they believe it means they are unworthy of belonging. 

Conversely, growth mindset individuals appreciate validation and approval, their worth is usually determined by virtue of being human. Moreover, to be human is to be imperfect. These individuals tend to recognize this and live wholeheartedly and vulnerably. 

They desire growth in every facet of their life, even if this growth requires setbacks, discomfort, pain, challenges, and colossal failures. 

Thus their value is predicated upon effort and courage. 

What a difference!

From this perspective, challenges aren’t avoided but welcomed as opportunities to grow and expand personal boundaries and limitations. 

In fact, this ability is the very thing that makes us human. 

Let us use Rousseau’s concept of perfectibility to really paint a picture of what I am attempting to express. 

“Perfectibility – Man’s inexhaustible ability to improve himself, to shape and to be shaped by his environment. It is the chief characteristic that distinguishes him from other animals. The development of reason and language are both functions of perfectibility. For man to “perfect himself” is not necessarily for him to become perfect, but rather for his physical and mental capacities to be remolded, time and time again. Perfectibility draws man out of his original condition, and is responsible for his extraordinary adaptability, but it is also the source of all his miseries. It creates enlightenment and man’s virtues, but also all of his vices.” 

To make a long story short, we can improve ourselves. This is not necessarily true with other species. Consider my dog, Emma. She is a pug, semi-overweight, significantly lazy, and a connoisseur of fine foods. Emma is always the same – day in and day out. It is highly improbable that I will come home one day to her burning sage, sitting full lotus, attempting to rearrange her attitudes, ideas, motivations, and achieve a higher level of consciousness. Nope. She will continue to be Emma. Probably grow a bit lazier and grumpier, but self-actualization is doubtfully on the horizon. 

Blue Red Independence Day Facebook Cover 11 Which Of The Following Describes A Growth Mindset

Yet, we can rearrange our attitudes, emotions, and motivations. We can chase after higher levels of consciousness. We can integrate ourselves and move towards self-actualization. We can challenge the current meaning in our lives and re-create our purpose.

This my friends is the growth mindset.

==>Take this quiz created by Dr. Dweck to determine whether you have a fixed or growth mindset!