Difference Between Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset

The concept of mindset has gained significant attention in recent years, especially in the field of education and personal development. Mindset refers to the set of beliefs and attitudes that individuals hold about their abilities and their potential for growth and development. Two predominant mindsets that have been identified in research are the "growth mindset" and the "fixed mindset".

In this essay, we will explore the differences between the growth mindset and the fixed mindset, and the impact each mindset has on personal development, education, and success.

What is Growth Mindset?

People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence is something that can be honed overtime. This expectation focuses on the importance of effort and resilience. Dweck further described it as the “power of yet” since it gives the understanding that there is still something that can be done about the current performance. With such perspective, a non-permanent learning curve is emphasized.

The following are some of the tips on how to harness a growth mindset −

  • Look at Difficult Situations as Opportunities − Going through a challenge is a great opportunity to learn.

  • Focus on a Goal − Having a purpose in mind helps in regulating one’s behavior towards a more meaningful end

  • Determine One’s Unique Learning Style − Being aware of the best way to learn is crucial in selecting the most efficient tools to improve

  • Embrace Weaknesses − Being realistic about one’s limits is important in setting achievable goals.

  • Quality over Quantity − : It is better to master a skill than to poorly or averagely learn various skills.

What is Fixed Mindset?

Having a fixed mindset is not helpful in one’s success as it is confined within current abilities. In this belief, people can only be smart if they were born with a high IQ. Hence, it is all about your genetics and given resources.

The following are some notable characteristics of those with this mindset:

  • Want to “Appear” Smart − Since they think that being smart is inherent, they are scared to look inadequate.

  • Merely Focus on the “Now” and Not Think of Possibilities − They are stuck in the present since they do not see the improvements that can be achieved after some time and effort.

  • Scared of Challenges − They do not see difficulties as learning experiences and facing challenges may mean losing social approval.

  • Often Compare Themselves with Others − When they feel inadequate, they usually look for others who perform less so they can feel better about themselves.

  • Easily Give Up − They think it is hopeless to be optimistic since success is already predestined.

Differences: Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset

The following table highlights the major differences between Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset:


Growth Mindset

Fixed Mindset


A growth mindset looks at them as opportunities for learning.

A fixed mindset views challenges as threats since it prefers comfort zones.


Having a growth mindset harnesses optimistic yet realistic goals since you become more comfortable in dealing with your weaknesses.

However, having a fixed mindset often leads to pessimistic and/or unrealistic objectives as limitations usually overshadow possibilities.


A growth mindset considers the brain as capable of change and thinks of intelligence as largely capable of amelioration.

A fixed mindset views intelligence as something pretty much set for each person since it believes that someone is born either smart or stupid.

Peer Pressure

Those with a growth mindset stick to their goals and are largely courageous in not sacrificing their potentials.

Individuals with a fixed mindset often yield in response to peer pressure as they often seek social approval.


People with a growth mindset acknowledge their weaknesses which makes them wiser. By knowing what they have to improve on and their limitations, they can better adjust their learning styles. In contrast, people with a fixed mindset deny their weaknesses and are often intimidated to do something about them.

Updated on: 30-Jun-2023


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