Our parents and teachers are mostly the ones who shape our behavior and mindsets as we grow. On this specific topic, what does a fixed mindset mean? To answer that, a person with a fixed mindset believes that they are unable to change due to their restricted ability. If it sounds like you at some point, here are 10 signs that you may have a fixed mindset.
1) You feel helpless
When it comes to tests and exams with disappointing outcomes, you usually have the impression of “I’m not smart enough for this quiz” or “I’m not good at this subject and I hate it”. After having thoughts like these, there is typically a limited space for self-reflection and improvements, such as seeking strategies or realizing what went wrong in the process (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
2) You are controlling and constructive
You always have a tendency to guide someone when they are doing something that you think is a high-risk event. For example, a study is done by assessing the mothers as they watch their kids encountering challenges in games. Mothers with a fixed mindset interfere more when the child is doing something that is incorrect and eventually participates in the game with the child instead. This study suggests parental technique plays a significant role in influencing a child’s mindset, as it can affect the way the child thinks in the future (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
3) Counterfactual thinking is almost impossible for you
Counterfactual thinking means the ability to think alternatives to life events that have already occurred; something that is contrary to what actually happened. Although people typically judge someone based on their appearance, a person with a fixed mindset is even more likely to do so. In one experiment, they compared people with a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset by giving them an image. Then, positive information is followed by negative information. They found out that people with a fixed mindset have difficulties with breaking their negative stereotypes about the certain appearance of the given image, which makes them less likely to think resiliently and flexibly (Vandewalle, 2012).
4) You focus more on ability than effort
In challenging experiences such as a competition or exams, are you more interested in the process or the outcome? If you tend to focus on the outcome, there is a probability that your mindset is more fixed. The final score is the only thing that you care about the most. Other things like engagement or interactions don’t seem to worry you too much (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
5) You often cram for tests
One of the most effective ways of studying is to review the chapter after you learn it from class. However, not everyone follows that type of routine. A person with a fixed mindset is likely to cram for the last minute by digesting complex information until the exam hits near. They tend to do it for the sake of producing a better score. On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset is more likely to contemplate in the learning process rather than piling everything up (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
6) Your self-esteem tends to be lower
Linking this point to the previous one, person praise aims more on the individual’s ability on task completions other than anything else. However, you don’t always succeed in every single task in this long-lasting life. This leads to more self-blaming, feeling more ashamed, and low self-esteem due to the poor performances you face in life since you always think your ability is fixed no matter what you try to improve (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
7) Criticisms sink your confidence
Sometimes, we receive criticisms on tasks and performances because of the dissatisfaction of someone, it can be your teacher, your peer, or anyone else. People with a fixed mindset essentially think all criticisms are a negative comment so they tend to run away from it and avoid it as much as possible because they assume they are the source of damaging their confidence (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
8) You try to avoid failure at all times
Similarly to the previous point, people with a fixed mindset are likely to actively avoid failures as much as possible. They view failures as something that hurts them instead of viewing failures as a learning opportunity and experience enhancement (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017).
9) You tend to focus on the imperfections of yourself and others
Since most people with a fixed mindset are likely to look for personal imperfection, they often attempt to work harder in order to fit in the situation that they are currently in (Haimovitz and Dweck, 2017). Take Kageyama from Haikyuu as an example. Back in junior high, he’s constantly practicing to improve his volleyball skills on the court. Turns out, he neglected the communication and cooperation with his teammates because he’s always focusing on improving himself only. Because of his extremely fixed mindset, his teammates eventually isolated him.
10) You make rash decisions
When it comes to decisions, you have the ability to provide an immediate answer. Based on a pattern recognition study, when the data is limited to only one feature, fixed mindset participants are more likely to make their conclusions compared to growth mindset participants. Due to that behavior, the results show that the participants with a fixed mindset have a lower accuracy since their decision making is too fast, eventually eliminating other details and observations of that experiment (Vandewalle, 2012).
Haimovitz, K., and Dweck, C., S. (2017, September 14). The Origins of Children’s Growth and Fixed Mindsets: New Research and a New Proposal. Child Development, 88(6), 1849-1859. https://doi-org.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/10.1111/cdev.12955
Vandewalle, D., (2012, August 2). A Growth and Fixed Mindset Exposition of the Value of Conceptual Clarity. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(3), 301-305.