Fixed or Growth? The Power of People’s Beliefs in Determining Success

Carol Dweck, PH.D. wrote the book Mindset.  She talks about the power of people’s beliefs in determining success.  The concepts can work in education, business, and relationships as well. I use it as I coach people on their health journey. 

2 Types of Mindsets

She talks about 2 different types of mindsets, a growth mindset, and a fixed mindset.  The way we look at ourselves affects the way we lead our lives.

Fixed Mindset is the belief that our intelligence and abilities are predetermined and can’t be changed.  It is hard to let go of past beliefs, experience failure and go beyond our comfort zone.  Having a fixed mindset can hold us back from growth, learning from mistakes and making different behavior choices.

Growth Mindset is the belief that our brains and talents are just the starting point.  Our abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.  Here, failure is positive.  One takes on the risk of new challenges and experiences growth from past mistakes and failures. A growth mindset is a key to achieving something different.

How would you describe your mindset?  Do you believe you can learn from mistakes and continue to grow and accept new challenges?  Do you believe that your past defines your future?

As I think about people with a growth mindset, many traits come to mind.  There are a few that stand out and can allow them to be successful.

5 C’s

  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Curiosity
  • Confidence
  • Connectedness


  • Have empathy about the past
  • Understand that the past does not define the future


  • Start something without knowing the outcome (this is the definition of vulnerability)
  • Discomfort to reach the desired goal


  • Desire to learn something new
  • Investigate outside of comfort zone


  • Try again and again – perseverance
  • Mistakes and learning are part of the process


Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? The power of people’s beliefs in determining success can be supported by these 5 C’s.

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