Fear of failure stops people in their tracks. There are some people who don’t sweat under pressure and others who push through their fear of failure and change themselves. Why do some people tolerate failure more than others?
The answer comes from Dr. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,which focuses on the two basic mindsets that shape our lives: fixed vs. growth.
People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are basically static whereas people with a growth mindset believe abilities are like muscles that can be built up with practice. With a growth mindset you tend to accept more challenges despite the risk of failure.
Here’s an infographic comparing both mindsets:
Growth mindset is something you have to aspire and work towards consistently, because most people are not full on growth mindset. Even successful entrepreneurs, artists, atheletes, executives, moguls; are not operating with a growth mindset all the time. I think high performers switch from one to the other depending on their attitude, feelings and circumstances. But a fixed mindset, I’d argue, is more prevalent in people of all walks of life.
Are you fixed or growth mindset?
With that said, how do you know if you’re growth or fixed mindset?
Here’s a simple exercise to know if you’re fixed or growth mindset. Read the following 4 sentences, and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them:
- You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
- No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
- You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
- You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
If you agreed with items 1 and 3, you’re someone who has a fixed mindset. And if you agreed with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a growth mindset.
Credit for this exercise goes to the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Check it out, it’s a good read on change!
How did you respond to the exercise? Let me know in the comments below, I’m really curious about your response.