Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m not a fast runner” or “History isn’t a subject I’m good at”? You might only think of these thoughts as learned behaviors about yourself from past experiences, but if it is something you tell yourself over and over again and, by doing so, you convince yourself not to try and be better than you are, that means you may be stuck in a fixed mindset.
It is a well-known fact that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but there are some habits that may make you struggle more in a business world that is full of unknowns and daily obstacles. Having a growth mindset is something that will not only help you advance in business, but it may also help you move your life forward. However, a fixed mindset will likely make your goals harder to reach. Here are five signs you have a fixed mindset.
5 Characteristics of a Fixed Mindset
1. You Avoid Challenges.
People who have a fixed mindset tend to stick to the safety net of what they know out of fear of failure (or even appearing like they are failing). Some also feel that challenges could bring conflicts, and that is something that will make them even more uncomfortable than failing.
When your mindset is fixed on only seeing to a certain point in the road, challenging your brain to see past that seems daunting. Many don’t even bother to try. Adversity fuels the fire when you live with a fixed mindset.
2. You Don’t Seek to Improve Your Talents
While a growth mindset involves constantly seeking to improve your skills and learn new ways of doing something, a person with a fixed mindset believes that what they know is set and they are unable to improve. They have formed a belief about themselves that only bad things can come from pushing past what you already know.
They feel safe in where they are and see trying to improve or learn as a danger to their own existence. They have found that they can be successful up to a certain point, but they refuse to push past that point. They are more focused on proving that they are a certain way because that’s just how they are, rather than trying to improve or learn.
3. You See Obstacles As a Reason to Quit
In business, there will be many obstacles and setbacks. If someone has a fixed mindset, they will see obstacles as reasons to give up and quit rather than to learn and to discover new strategies to learn from this experience. Maybe they have experienced failure after reaching a setback in the past, so now they believe that is what will happen every time they are in a similar situation. They may think it is easier to quit than to struggle through. Quitting seems like a safer option, rather than trying and possibly failing farther down the line.
4. You Compare Yourself to Others
People with a fixed mindset see the world through a lens of scarcity. They look around and see others succeeding, and, instead of being happy about their success, they see it as yet another reason that they will fail. They don’t see that two people can succeed in the same area.
This has them constantly looking around and noticing others doing well and then dissecting all of their insecurities and shortcomings. If you find yourself surrounded by a group that is doing well, and your internal thoughts automatically start firing that you will never add up, that is a sure sign of a fixed mindset.
5. You Don’t Take Criticism Well
Since people with a fixed mindset have already convinced themselves they can only go so far or be so smart on a subject, people with a fixed mindset don’t take well to anyone criticizing them. This is part of the reason why they don’t seek to improve or take part in challenges because they fear any negative feedback that might come from failing.
In a fixed mindset, they feel that they know what people are going to say before they even try. Since they don’t understand how people work without a fixed mindset, they feel that others will only see their shortcomings.
Living with a fixed mindset really limits your views and can cut you short of dreams before you even give them a chance. The good news is that even if you feel that you check some of these boxes, you don’t have to stay in that rut. Instead, look at the ways you can practice a growth mindset. Take baby steps. Start with one positive affirmation at a time. Remind yourself that you CAN do this. Just like all of the negative thoughts have added up over time, so can the positives. But you have to be willing to put in the work to change your mindset.
Start by taking on a new, small project at work, take an online course in something you enjoy, make a contract with yourself that you can’t quit or there will be a consequence, work on encouraging others and seeing that you can all be successful, and learn to accept feedback as something positive instead of as criticism.
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