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Mindset refers to a set of beliefs you hold that are shaped or formed from your past experiences and which affect or determine the way you think, see yourself, and act. The study of mindset just like most other concepts has a lot of research and studies were done in the past about it. In the study of mindset, one of the many studies and probably the most popular one today is the one by the Stanford Professor of Psychology, Carol Dweck


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As a student in sixth grade, Carol Dweck came to develop a curiosity about understanding how intelligence was judged and the impacts of test scores on students generally. She would go on to conduct research into understanding intelligence and how each student’s attitude affects his or her ‘intelligence’. In her research, she sought to understand why among students, some persons handle failure positively while some others handle it not so well. According to the results of her research, she stated that there are two types of mindsets available – the fixed mindset and the growth mindset

The Fixed Mindset

Carol Dweck suggests that individuals with a fixed mindset are individuals who believe that their abilities are set in stone and cannot be changed by them. These individuals believe that when they fail at something or are not able to get certain things done, it simply means that they do not have the talent or abilities to get those things done, and may never do. These persons turn away from activities and projects that will expose their weaknesses and inabilities. They are more apt to approach any activity with the view of showing or proving how smart they are.

The Growth Mindset

Individuals with this type of mindset are the exact opposite of the fixed mindset. They believe that their abilities can be developed or improved with the right kind of work. These individuals are more open to making mistakes and learning from their mistakes than those with a fixed mindset. They would gladly engage in activities and take on projects that seem challenging, to learn and improve themselves. 


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Other Types Of Mindset

Apart from the above two mindsets put forth by Carol Dweck, there are several other classifications of mindsets that exist. Most of the classifications are similar in some ways to the two mindsets of growth and fixed. I will however discuss only two of these other mindset types 

The Scarcity Mindset 

This particular mindset type was put forth by Stephen Covey in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The Scarcity mindset sees resources as being limited and unable to go round to all. Those with this mindset often are competitive and attention-seeking, even in situations they are not supposed to be. Just like the fixed mindset that seeks always to prove that it is smart, the Scarcity mindset seeks to prove that they are better than others. Stephen Covey believes that those with this type of mindset have difficulty in sharing recognition, credit, power or profit – even with those who have played a great role in the attainment of such. 


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The Abundance Mindset

This is the opposite of the scarcity mindset and was also put forward by Stephen Covey. The Abundance mindset is a mindset that believes in the availability of enough resources for everyone to achieve their desired ends. This mindset is similar to the Growth mindset but is slightly different in that the Abundance Mindset is one built on hope and optimism. According to Stephen Covey, this type of mindset has its roots in a deep sense of personal worth, fulfilment and security. 

Concluding Thoughts 

The mindset classifications above are simply developed to help you in understanding yourself and others and to help you work on improving yourself over time. For instance, when you notice traces of a fixed mindset, it is a pointer to you that you need to work on some things. 

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This article was first published on 23rd April 2022

victor-ifegwu-mbonu

Ifegwu-Mbonu Victor is a Personal Growth and Leadership Trainer who provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations.


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