Growth mindset Vs. Fixed mindset

“Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” 

Debbie Millman

The above words are not words alone. These are words which shine as guiding light in the wilderness of distractions in the path towards the treasure house of successes. Modern psychology is rooted in the above golden lines. Paradoxical to the Pollyanna platitude, modern psychology has scientifically proven how our belief system about our abilities and potential reflect on our behaviour and is a predictor of our success. Much of the credit goes to the Stanford professor of Psychology, Dr.Carol Dweck for her extensive research and interpretation which motivated her to produce many publications. She has beautifully presented her thoughts in a book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - a deliberation and investigation into the magical power of our beliefs, embedded in both conscious and unconscious mind, and how altering even the simplest of them can have an intense impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.

You must be wondering what am I up to

I want to tell you that you are the master of your own destiny. I can hear some cynical laughter, some whispers and even see some of you smile...

Hold on! For all the non-believers of my words, just calm your nerves and resist from perceptual distortion and scepticism.

How many of you believe that whatever path you have treaded is only because of your genes and you keep attributing your misery to the stars and run to astrologers who you think have solutions and mantras to strip off your life from the clouds of misfortune like a magician with abracadabra?

I guess quite a number of you.

Now how many of you push yourself out of your comfort zone, take up challenges-one step at a time, giving a deaf ear to the noise people make of the impossibility of the path you choose or the effort that you exert for giving a tight contest to the challenge in front of you.

Mind you! What may be challenging for a special child with the hearing disorder is quite different from an infant trying to walk, exhausting for a sports person aiming for Olympic medal, more variable for a start-up entrepreneur, still arduous for the person fighting for his life in an ICU or for a survivor of domestic abuse without any means of livelihood.

I hope you agree life is challenging for everyone, only the dimensions and magnitude differ.

Psychology has laid out evidence through extensive experimentation that people who limit their minds to think they are as good as their lady luck want them to be or it’s quite explosive to walk out of their self-restrained boundary or it’s too late to try anything new, actually possess a fixed mindset. Fixed mindset augurs approval as the main purpose behind taking a course, like whether I will succeed or lose? Whether I will be appreciated for my dressing or not? Whether I am going to be a good mom or not? Whether the audience will like my performance or laugh at me? Hence, people with a fixed mindset are always in doubt of themselves. They constantly seek affirmation from others and readily get influenced by other perspectives.

Contrarily, the people who believe that age, genes and circumstances are no bar to a new beginning are actually living with a growth mindset. They do not consider failure as shameful or disapproval, but as an opportunity to mend ways and process and come out with more credible outcomes with consistent efforts, perseverance and confidence. For them, it’s not failure but ‘Not Yet’, as stated by Dr.Dweck
People with a growth mindset acknowledge and understand that learning is a continuous process and makes constant effort to improve for meeting the challenges. They do not seek validation but seek internal fulfilment. Success cannot be diluted with dishonesty or short cuts, whereas people with a fixed mindset have the propensity to adopt dishonest means for high score points.

Every aspect of life is affected by mindset, be it a relationship, love life, lifestyle, hobbies...

If you allow being within the confinement of fixed mindset, you may think that relationships are straight out of fairy tales with some prince charming mincing no words or wasting no time to keep you as a beautiful princess in a heavenly palace. Growth mindset individuals in a relationship accept each other’s imperfections and enjoy each other’s company as great pals. There are no undue expectations but being there to support each other’s growth and journey. Pragmatism, freedom, respect and friendship form the foundation of marriage and relationship. People with a growth mindset are risk-takers, passionate and love to live life in their own terms without being restrained by social diktats or bearing obligation for confirming to blind social norms. They are non-judgemental and do not rely on validation for improvement.

The enterprising world is a world of opportunity for people possessing or cultivating growth mindsets. Growth mindset is cultivated and is set on an unending journey towards exploration and self-renewal for one’s own internal gratification.

Debbie Millman rightly said: 

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,”


written by
Dr. Susmita Parija

Dr.Susmita Parija is a “Women of Substance” who conducts her life with Honesty and Integrity. Sh...

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