Mindset Affects Learning

Growth vs. Fixed

The Basics

Are you a growth oriented person or someone with a fixed mindset? What’s the difference and why is it important in learning?

A mindset refers to an individual or a group of people and it is a set of their assumptions, beliefs, methods, or notions. It can also be seen as arising of a person’s view or philosophy of life.

The learning process is heavily filtered by the mindset and how much we learn depends on whether yours is a growth mindset, fixed mindset or the combination of both.


Children who understand that the brain can get smarter—who have a growth mindset—do better in school because they have a perspective on learning. They focus on improvement and see effort as a way to build their abilities, to get better. They see failure as a natural part of the learning process.

Students who have a fixed mindset are totally opposite. They believe that intelligence is fixed—so they focus on the judgment. They’re more concerned with proving that they are smart or hiding that they’re not, so that means they tend to avoid situations in which they might fail or might have to work hard.

However, the key for all of us is the fact that you can have a growth mindset in some areas and a fixed mindset in others.

Growth Mindset / Fixed Mindset

People with growth mindset:

  • Believe that intelligence can be developed.
  • Embrace challenges.
  • Persist in the face of setbacks.
  • View effort as the path to mastery.
  • Learn from criticism.
  • Find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.
  • Welcome challenges and view setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow.

People with a fixed mindset:

  • Believe their talent and traits are fixed assets.
  • Are risk-averse.
  • Believe effort is for those not smart enough.
  • Cover their flaws and is defensive if they’re pointed out.
  • View feedback as a personal attack.

For example, you might be very growth-oriented in your career and believe in your ability to develop and improve at work. Meanwhile, you might display a fixed mindset with regards to your health and believe things like “I’m just not the type of person who does exercises” or, “I was never the active type of person.”

Most people talk about the fact of being more confident with time, that is what they would like to become and that they are working on this. The usual approach is to “fake it until you make it.”

Instead, why not talk about starting small, proving your ability to yourself in a thousand tiny ways, and letting the confidence and growth mindset naturally follow from there. Confidence is just displayed ability.

This way of thinking gives us a better picture and less pressure in none.



Research done by Joanna Cichuta, Co-Founder of INNER FIRE and Wellness Practitioner

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