Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset


What challenges do we need to overcome now?

  • Learning to work from home,
  • Learn to play new roles at home
  • Learn about Covid 19 rather than acting like you know it all or don’t care.
  • Dealing with limiting social contact and practicing vigilance


Here are some useful thoughts and tips for spotting a fixed mindset during these challenging times, and then how to start choosing to approach these situations in a more growth mindset oriented way.


Why is a Growth Mindset So Important Now?

When it comes to considering what the difference is between having a fixed or a growth mindset where Covid-19 is concerned, there are many ways in which we can use this time to develop a growth mindset. Some examples of how a fixed mindset may be affecting you right now:

Fixed mindset: I need to be the expert on this issue and I need to look like I am always right about it. I believe only what I think is right or true.

Growth Mindset: I don’t need to be right or most knowledgeable about this; there is a lot I can learn and understand by being open to learning it. It is also ok not to know exactly how things will go, but I need to remain open to learning about it, and then evolving my response to the situation.

Fixed mindset: It is hard to work from home, especially now, so I am not going to succeed in doing what I need to do.

Growth Mindset: I may not be used to working from home but I can keep trying new ways and methods to do so more effectively. I am going to accept it is challenging, and embrace the challenge, by trying to get there through different methods and experiments of what working from home can be. I may not be there yet but I can get there!

Fixed Mindset: I don’t want to learn from how others are making it work in the current situation.  Instead I am going to create my own reasons to respond the way I do, instead of being open to the insights and ideas of others around me.

Growth Mindset: I am going to be open to finding and understanding what other people are doing to make the situation more productive and value adding. I am going to appreciate other people’s insights and ideas, and I am going to give praise and appreciation where it is due.



The bottom line is that we can either use this time to confirm and reinforce our limited ways of seeing the world and how we act in it, and our inability to foster learning and growth, or I am going to encourage and practice open and growth mindset thinking, which will create a range of personal growth opportunities to experiment with and discover.

As I write this I am learning how to write this article while watching my 3yr old daughter take a bath because she and my son are home from today for the next month, at least. I need to practice a growth mindset to the best of my ability, otherwise I will not be able to grow and adapt in these trying times which require a unique set of skills to deal with the current circumstances.

So it is a given that we are all fixed when it comes to certain things. Some of us have more of a growth mindset than others, which is why some people keep learning and keep improving while others stay stuck. Some of us are fixed in certain ways, and growth-driven in others.

We can all benefit from cultivating a growth mindset. In todays lesson I am going to suggest a few key steps for you to practice while you are stuck at home with the kids dealing with all kinds of changes to how you normally do things. Now is the time to learn and grow.

If you are like me, then you are probably working from home, have the kids under your feet, are learning how to run the home as you haven’t needed to before in terms of cleaning, looking after kids, cooking, educating, working, and maintaining your personal, emotional and stress levels while searching for answers in figuring out how to deal with what is going on. It is a large order all at once.

Despite the challenges I have mentioned this is also a good time to grow, and to find it within yourself to do things, and act, in a way that helps you to become more aware of what you can do, and learn, vs what you can’t or won’t believe you can do.

3 ways to spot a fixed mindset:

  1. I cant deal with a challenge and I give up
  2. I need to be right / look smart.
  3. I don’t take criticism or bad news well and I shut down.


Lesson Plan

Where you find yourself thinking like this it is very likely you are experiencing a fixed mindset state. Let’s fix that.

Step 1: Spot it

The first step is to identify it. Here is a personal example: “I have found myself thinking ‘there is no way I can work’ in these conditions, my kids keep interrupting me and I keep losing my train of thought. I am not going to be able to stay productive at the level I need to be.” Keep an eye out for the video in the Growth Mindset Facebook Group.

This is the beginning of a fixed mindset state. Instead of thinking this way, you can say something like:

“Working from home under these conditions is challenging, I wonder how I am going to tackle this challenge successfully? What can I try to achieve the level of work efficiency I need during the coming weeks?”


Step 2: List Options

Make a list of all your options. Here are three I am trying out:

  1. Change my work times (very early mornings or late evening work, and try having a sleep in the afternoon).
  2. Work in short stints of 30 minutes at a time, and make an agreement with your partner & kids if possible to practice allowing you to do this.
  3. Try working despite the interruptions and see how you adapt to them. Maybe you will develop an ability to still be able to focus on getting work done with a fair degree of interruption?


All of these are experimental options that may challenge your view of how you need to work to get the job done. You are very likely to surprise yourself at the outcomes of trying to adapt. This is applying a growth mindset where a fixed mindset would say:

“I must work like this; I cant be interrupted and I need complete silence; I can only work in the way I am used to working.”


Step 3: Accept the Challenge!

Find examples of anything you are battling to do right now and ask yourself, “am I battling because I have a fixed mindset about how it should be?”. There will definitely be a few of these situations. These are all likely to be examples of a fixed mindset. Push yourself to accept the challenge of figuring out how else it can be achieved, and how you can ‘get there’ in new ways and through new methods.


Step 4: Practice, Experiment, Refine

I bet you, if you do this consistently over the coming weeks you will teach yourself new things about yourself, about what you can do instead of what you can’t do, and it will evolve your understanding of your own potential to deal with change by creating conditions of personal growth rather than by re-enforcing and accepting limitations or fixed views.


Make sense?

I hope so. This is also a great way of engaging the whole family in conversations about how we can all find new ways of doing things around the house, so we are challenging the whole family to grow and develop through this time.

Take part in this challenge and let us know in a week how it’s gone for you and your family. Be part of the discussion and share your experience on our Facebook Group: Growth Mindset


Join the Conversation

11 Responses

  1. The understanding of a growth mindset has really changed my way of thinking and approaching difficulty in my life. Thank you for this.

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