Is A Fixed Mindset Holding You Back?

Growth Mindset

I read a blog post a few years ago that has stuck with me. The blogger was frustrated with people saying they wished they were good at painting/sewing/baking.

Her point was, that she had spent hours learning how to paint/sew/bake and so if people “wished” to also do that thing, all they had to do was start and practise.

I’m very blessed to have friends who can do a whole host of amazing things, and I frequently find myself wishing I could do those things too. But then I remember that blog post.

Teachers out there will know exactly where I’m going with this. You see, in schools there is a big push right now for students to get out of a fixed mindset, and into a growth mindset.

What is a fixed/growth mindset?

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that intelligence and ability are assigned and cannot be changed.

Have you ever said any of the following:

“I’ve never been good with numbers”

“I’m just not creative”

“I wish I had the brain for problem solving”

“She’s so lucky she has the ability to bake. I just can’t do it”

Sound familiar? Then you might have elements of a fixed mindset.


If you’re honest with yourself, how much effort have you put into being able to do that thing that you say you cannot do? I’m guessing not that much.

I’m going to come back to how you can fix that in a moment.

In the meantime, let’s talk about having a growth mindset.

Having a growth mindset is all about finding ways to grow your abilities to achieve your goals.

People with growth mindsets find ways to hone their skills and get better at the things they can’t do as well.

They don’t give up after failure – after all, few people can get things right first time around. The brain is like a muscle; you need to train it and keep it active in order to grow stronger.

If there’s a barrier to them achieving (for example, something being explained in a way they don’t understand) then they find another way (like asking for a different example).


If there is something you would like to be able to do, be it a hobby skill like sewing or baking, or a career enhancer like mad Excel skills, do you have a fixed or a growth mindset attached to this skill?

Those who have a fixed mindset, listen up. If you really want to be able to do that thing, you need to put in the effort. It takes time and patience to do a thing, and that’s where this next task will come into play.

Making time to gain skills

When we need to gain control over something, the first step is always to monitor that thing, so we can get an overview. I joined Slimming World this week, and my first step is writing down all the things I eat, so I can see where the gaps are – and also be held accountable.

If you’re looking to improve or gain a skill, you need to do the same exercise with your time.

Map out each day in the week, with hour blocks. Something really simple, like this. Colour code times when you have stuff to do – work, sleep, eating. Those kinds of things.

Then look at what you have left. Is there time in the evening when you just sit doing very little? Do you have 30 minutes each morning before work?

Utilise these times to grow your skills. Practise the things you want to be good at, even if it’s just planning or research into becoming better.

Much of the growth mindset resources online are aimed at students, but I think this is something even us adults need to understand. You can teach old dogs new tricks, and you never know where newly found skills or honed abilities may lead you in your career.

Got a growth mindset tip? Let me know in the comments!

Fixed Mindset



  1. http://Ashley says

    This reminds of a Natalie Dee comic where she is knitting and someone comments “I wish I could knit” and she replies “You do realise the only things you are born knowing how to do is taking a shit and complaining right?”
    I love that comic so much and I give a cleaner version of it to my students all the time when they complain about anything in school being difficult.

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