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Is a Fixed Mindset Holding You Back From What You Really Want?

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

A fixed mindset is the idea that you were born with or without certain qualities and talents. You may think things like, “I’m not good at reading. I never have been.” Or you might say, “I want to paint landscapes but I’m not an artist.”

The problem with a fixed mindset is that it keeps you stuck. You limit your experiences and your feelings based on what you think you can achieve. But there is an alternative point of view that’s called a growth mindset. How Does a Fixed Mindset Impact You? A fixed mindset can affect every area of your life even if you don’t realize it. For example, it can affect your finances. You might say things like, “I’ve never had a head for numbers so I’m not going to use a monthly budget system.”

Another part of your life that a fixed mindset can be troublesome is with your health. You might think, “Diabetes already runs in my family so there’s no sense in making any healthy choices. I’ll get it anyway.” Your fixed mindset can cause problems in your relationships as well. You may believe you can’t change and neither can the other person. For example, you may think, “Well, my partner has always been insensitive to my needs. She won’t change now”. Or you might say, “I’ve never gotten along with my mother. We just don’t see eye-to-eye on anything.” A fixed mindset keeps you stuck. You limit your experiences and your feelings based on what you think you can achieve. Are You Willing to Let Go of a Fixed Mindset? Kay was the daughter of alcoholic parents and she spent most of her childhood trying to care for her younger siblings. She struggled to learn how to read and write, due to an undiagnosed learning disorder. Her third grade teacher frequently mocked and taunted her, often calling Kay dummy. As a result, Kay didn’t do well in school and believed she was stupid. She’d always dreamed of helping people as a nurse but she never made it pass tenth grade. Instead, she worked at a local diner as a waitress.

But Annette, the owner of the restaurant, believed in Kay. She encouraged the younger woman to study for GED so she could go to college. Annette said, “You have a fixed mindset and that’s holding you back from what you really want.” Kay explained to Annette the troubles she had in school and Annette helped her get tested for learning disabilities. When Kay realized her brain processed information differently and that’s why she had struggled for years, she cried. For the first time, Kay began to believe it was possible that she could become a nurse. She no longer saw her skills and abilities as fixed. Instead, she embraced the idea that with time and help, she could still continue her education and pursue her dreams. What does a growth mindset look like for you?

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