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A growth mindset vs a fixed mindset

In personal development, a growth mindset is the conviction that we are learning creatures with huge capabilities to acquire knowledge and skills. It assumes success before it has been achieved.

In this state we have moved beyond negative patterns from our past that have been holding us back. A mindset of growth flourishes as we witness personal success and gain confidence in ourselves.

growth mindset

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A growth mindset is the opposite of one dominated by limiting beliefs.

A fixed mindset arises from distorted assumptions about our abilities. It's a product of limiting beliefs that are deposited into our minds at a young age, through trauma, or through repetition.

Many people are stuck in a fixed mindset. They think that whatever skills and attributes they have now is all they have to work with when facing challenges. It's as if the hand they were dealt at birth is the sole resource they have to draw on when the going gets tough.

Sadly, this plays out in people's lives as a never-ending quest to prove themselves.

Fixed Mindset and Limiting Beliefs

At some time, perhaps, someone told you that you couldn't do a certain thing, that you were not smart enough, or deserving enough, or that you were too lazy to succeed. Perhaps money was in short supply and that became your dominant mindset. Maybe you were labeled as undeserving or less than capable due to an accident of birth and cultural prejudice. Does this sound familiar to you?

fixed mindset!

A person dominated by a fixed mindset sees insurmountable challenges everywhere they look. Overwhelmed and apathetic, they retreat into familiarity and never allow themselves to stretch their wings. Their life becomes defined by missed and wasted opportunities.

In short, they suffer from an acute case of the "I-couldn't-possiblies".

In point of fact...

...human capability has very few limits within the bounds of our material existence. Adopting a growth mindset unshackles our beliefs about what we're capable of doing, and opens us up to universal energy. This is our source of inspiration, which is infinite, abundant, and benevolent.

Isn't that great news?

It's a much more enjoyable space to live in! It's effects radiate out to other people, who are drawn to and uplifted by our optimism.

growth mindset

A growth mindset doesn't mean you naively plunge ahead into new territory without considering risks. Growth always happens within certain constraints. A healthy attitude toward growth shifts a person's default mode to one of optimism and a "can-do" spirit. We trust that a good outcome is more likely than a bad one, and that any challenges faced on the way can be dealt with as they arise.

Once we replace fixed mindset with one of growth, incredible things become reachable, and the near-impossible becomes possible. It's all about our attitude, making a tiny shift in our perspective that changes everything.

Growth is uplifting. Stagnation pulls downward.

If we want our spirit to soar, we have to adopt the conviction that personal growth is in the natural order of all things.

Embracing Failure

The most successful people embrace failure as a necessary growth step. Not that failure is the goal, far from it. The goal lies beyond a horizon of skills and knowledge that haven't yet been acquired, and trying and failing are unavoidable.

Yet many of us fear failure and thus miss the opportunity. We fail to grow because we fear failing!

Ironic, isn't it? Since we're either going to fail by trying something new, or by shrinking from the challenge, I say we might as well choose the path that takes us to a higher state of being. That's the path of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, expecting to flop now and then, but also expecting valuable life lessons to arise from the experience.

Diagnosing Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

We've described two competing belief systems. Which one describes you? Do fresh challenges spark a surge of energy about the possibilities that lie ahead? Or do you, or someone you know, assume things are not possible before they've tried them, or allowed for solutions to arise from inspiration?

Maybe you fear the consequences of failure, having defined them somehow in catastrophic terms: failure = death.

As a professional life coach, I am trained to recognize a client's attitudes toward growth fairly quickly. The words clients use about new things don't lie! Scarcity phrases like "I can't / couldn't / shouldn't" hint at a fixed mindset, whereas excitement about the possibilities afforded by newness ("I will!") is a solid sign of a person in a mindset of growth.

Shifting from Fixed to Growth Mindset

Shifting our attitudes toward growth starts with addressing limiting beliefs. I coach my clients to identify and clear those limiting beliefs so that they no longer hold power over their thoughts, opinions, and assumptions about what we're able to accomplish in our lives.

It's hard work, but essential to our happiness and sense of fulfillment in life. Tossing aside an attitude of limitation, and replacing it with one of growth is liberating, and sets the stage for genuine emotional, material, and mental growth in our lives.

growth mindset

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