Growth or Fixed…Which one are you????

I have been reading “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

This book looks at people in all walks of life…business, sports, relationships, parents, teachers, coaches, etc.  Are people in each of these walks of life of the growth mindset, the fixed mindset, or both?  I am going to address the differences between growth and fixed mindsets as they relate to sports…

Growth mindset = Great Athletes

Athletes with the growth mindset…

  • “Focus on self-development, self-motivation and responsibility”
  • “Find success in learning and improving, not just winning.”
  • Have “character, heart and the mind of a champion.”
  • Look at setbacks as a way to motivate them to work harder and become better athletes.
  • Are “not constantly trying to prove they are better than others.  Instead, they are constantly trying to improve.”
  • “Look directly at their mistakes, use feedback and alter their strategies accordingly to improve.”
  • “Maintain a healthy sense of confidence.”
  • “Dig deep, face challenges and keep growing.”
  • Believe their “skills can grow with experience and effort.”
  • Ask questions like, “What can I learn from this?  How can I improve?”

Fixed mindset = Star Athletes

Athletes with the fixed mindset…

  • Have “natural” ability and allow their ego to drive their behaviors.
  • Believe they “have to be somebody or they’ll be a nobody.”
  • Allow setbacks to define them.
  • Believe “some people are superior and some people are inferior.”
  • Have a “gargantuan personal ego.
  • “Want to be the only big fish so that when they compare themselves to those around them, they can feel a cut above the rest.”
  • “Refuse to look at their deficiencies” and only focus on what they are good at.
  • Often resort to the key weapons of “blame, excuses and the stifling of critics and rivals” for why they are not at the top.
  • Believe, “My talent defines and validates me.”
  • “Like to use their strengths…to achieve quick, dramatic results, even if…they aren’t developing the new skills they will need later on.”
  • Have a “smug and elitist attitude.”
  • Believe “you either have it or you don’t.”
  • Are “judgmental.”  They constantly judge and critique where they are in their sport often comparing themselves to others, but don’t try to make changes or improvements.

We are human beings…we are not solely of the fixed mindset or the growth mindset.  There are areas of our lives where we tend to think with the fixed mindset and other areas of our lives where we tend to think with the growth mindset.


Are there sports you always assumed you were bad at?  Is there a sport that came easily to you until you hit a wall?  Where do you incorporate growth mindset into your sport?  How can you incorporate more growth mindset beliefs and behaviors into your sport?

10 thoughts on “Growth or Fixed…Which one are you????

  1. I definitely leaned more towards a fixed mindset when I was younger but with maturity and obstacles in life we grow. I think I am primarily of the growth mindset now however I still have a lot of growth left in me. It’s about the journey after all.

    1. It is SO GREAT to here from you Simone!! I’ve missed you 😉 So true…the journey and the growing we do along the way are what life is all about!!

  2. I couldn’t help but get excited and giddy when I say Dweck’s name and the word psychology. 🙂 I have actually taught about these mindsets in my class on motivation and it’s really interesting to see how these can change depending on the context. For example, I have a strong growth mindset when it comes to individual sports and activities, but a fixed mindset when it comes to group sports or activities (weird, huh?). This is likely due to my own accountability for performance on individual tasks. I would prefer to be more growth oriented on all accounts and work on this when I can. Great post, Kecia!

    1. Thanks Kristen!! I was incredibly fascinated and intrigued while reading this book!! The growth vs fixed mindset I’d definitely dependent on the context for me as well. I see myself calling myself out on being one or the other in different situations throughout almost everyday since reading Dweck’s book 😉

    1. When we know our weaknesses and are willing to do what it takes to “grow” into them, we definitely have the growth mindset!! I’m proud of you for working hard to improve your running weakness 🙂

  3. Very interesting.
    Some of the points apply to me in both categories, however I don’t see myself as a great athlete and of course not a star athlete.
    But I do like the relationship and analysis between our personalities and being an athlete, and those points apply as well to other aspects of my life.

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