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What is a fixed mindset?

Article originally published in November 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in April 2024.

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Definition of a fixed mindset

A fixed mindset is a belief that our abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits that we can’t change. People with a fixed mindset often think that they’re born with a certain amount of skill and that’s all they have. They tend to avoid challenges, give up easily when faced with obstacles, and see effort as pointless. They often feel threatened by the success of others and ignore useful feedback. This mindset can limit growth and potential in both personal and professional life.

In contrast to a growth mindset, which embraces challenges and views failure as a springboard for growth and stretching abilities, a fixed mindset can be detrimental to progress. It can lead to a lack of motivation to learn new skills or take on new challenges, as individuals with this mindset may believe that they are incapable of improving their abilities. This can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the belief in their own limitations actually leads to a lack of growth and development. In the business world, a fixed mindset can stifle innovation and prevent companies from adapting to changing market conditions. Therefore, fostering a growth mindset is crucial for both personal and professional success.

How does a fixed mindset work?

A fixed mindset works by adhering to the belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits that cannot be developed or improved upon. For marketers, this mindset can limit creativity and innovation, as it discourages risk-taking and experimentation. It can also hinder the ability to adapt to changing market trends and consumer behaviors. Marketers with a fixed mindset may rely heavily on traditional marketing strategies and resist new ideas or technologies, believing that their existing skills and knowledge are sufficient for success. This mindset can ultimately stifle growth and progress in a rapidly evolving marketing landscape.

An example of a fixed mindset

Growth Method believes that their current marketing strategies are the best and there’s no need to change or adapt them. They think their software is perfect and doesn’t require any improvements or updates. They’re not interested in customer feedback because they’re convinced they know what’s best for their users.

Questions to ask yourself

As a modern growth marketing or agile marketing professional, ask yourself the following questions with regard to a fixed mindset:

  1. Am I avoiding challenges and sticking to what I know instead of exploring new strategies?
  2. Do I give up easily when faced with marketing obstacles, or do I persist until I find a solution?
  3. Do I see effort as fruitless or do I view it as a path to mastery in my marketing strategies?
  4. When I receive criticism, do I take it personally or use it as a chance to improve my marketing skills?
  5. Am I threatened by the success of others in my field, or do I find lessons and inspiration in their achievements?

Other articles you might like

Here are some related articles and further reading on fixed mindset you may find helpful.

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