While discussing beliefs that underlie our ability to make choices last week, I proposed a new paradigm that embraces both an internal and an external locus of control. Today’s topic, “fixed mindset vs growth mindset,” is similar.
However, it’s brought me to a very different conclusion: Where our mindset is concerned, we should pursue the one focused on growth.
- People with fixed mindsets believe that life cemented their talents and mental abilities or challenges at birth.
- Those with growth mindsets believe they can develop their abilities through hard work, learning strategies, and input from others.
Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset – Which Is Better?
Stanford University, Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck, originated and explained the fixed mindset vs growth mindset idea in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Carol’s research led her to advocate for a growth mindset. She wrote that those who have them “worry less about looking smart, and they put more energy into learning.”
When I consider how the fixed mindset vs growth mindset debate has played out in my life, the best examples of growth-mindset people are my parents.
My Mom, one of the older students at Michigan State University, found out a few days ago that her professors loved her research paper on death and dying. They even want to help her publish it in a journal.
Born next to the Amazon River in Peru, she worked unimaginably hard to come to the USA and make it on her own. When she and my Dad met, he was a truck driver. His old red pickup truck had a 3-inch hole in the passenger-side floor!
My mom’s memories of their first date include watching the highway whiz by beneath her feet. Although it was odd, she found this guy who didn’t need to impress her with a fancy vehicle strangely attractive.
Even after I was born, they still had the red truck. My earliest memories include the thrill of watching the road go by under my feet. My dyslexic mind was mesmerized.
My Dad says that he went to work as a truck driver because he needed time to think about starting his own business and develop a plan to make it happen.
And that’s what he did! He took his life by the reins and built a successful trucking company with my Mom’s help. Although they started with used equipment, it wasn’t long before their team members were behind the wheels of brand-new rigs.
I don’t know what happened to that old truck, but my Dad still drives a vehicle with over 350k miles on it. Yet, his desire to expand his mind never slows. He reads all my blogs, along with a slew of books by his nightstand.
I can’t imagine that he will ever stop seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding.
My Journey to a Growth Mindset
The ability to form new habits and make decisions is fundamental to healthy diet choices. Having a fixed mindset hinders that ability.
As the child of two parents who pulled themselves up from relative poverty to become successful entrepreneurs, I’ve always witnessed and appreciated the effects of a growth mindset.
At age 39, I went vegetarian. On my 40th birthday, I went entirely plant-based.
Around that same time, I began reading lots of books. Like my parents, I was pursuing knowledge and understanding as never before.
I didn’t limit my reading to books that fit my preconceived notions of the world. I also chose books that challenged my views. Ever so slowly, I began finding my own answer to the fixed mindset vs growth mindset question.
I no longer looked at myself as someone hampered by his dyslexia or ADD. I learned to trust that my mind CAN continually make new connections and grow beyond its challenges.
And consuming plant-based foods helps my brain make those new connections! As I continue challenging myself to grow this way every day, I’m learning more than ever.
I’m also better at developing and sticking with habits. I now know that, when adopting and persisting with new practices, age is no obstacle. With the right mindset, any old dog can learn new tricks!
Fixed mindset vs growth mindset? If life has taught me anything, a growth mindset is the best approach to forming healthy habits.