Why do some people succeed when other people fail?  Are they more talented?  Do they have more advantages than other people?  While talent and advantages help, they are no guarantee of success. 

Instead, research suggests that mindset can be just as important, or even more important, than talent.  This research shows that there are two types of mindsets – fixed vs growth.

What is a Fixed Mindset?

People with a fixed mindset think that a person’s abilities are fixed.  You either have the ability or you don’t.  Period.  Failure is dreaded because it means that their abilities are weak, not strong.

What is a Growth Mindset?

People with a growth mindset however, believe that you start with talent and then work to grow and develop your abilities.  Stanford professor Carol Dweck, author of the book “Mindset”, says, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.”

But it’s not just about hard work or the amount of effort that you put into something.  A true growth mindset is about learning, in order to see results.  With learning, if you are not achieving the results you want, then you have to learn a new strategy. 

Fixed vs Growth Mindset

Here is chart that shows some of the defining characteristics:

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset
Abilities and intelligence are fixed traitsAbilities and intelligence can be developed
Focused on validationFocused on learning
Avoids risk and challengesEmbraces risk and challenges
Sticks to what they knowTries new things
Gives up easilyKeeps trying
Sees effort as a waste of timeSees effort as a way to grow and learn
Threatened by the success of othersInspired by the success of others
Unable to reach their full potentialReach higher levels of success
Blames others for setbacksViews setbacks as a way to learn
Ignores feedback and criticismLearns from criticism
Characteristics of a Fixed vs Growth Mindset

What Does a Growth Mindset Look Like?

A growth mindset is focused on learning, effort and trying new things. 


With a growth mindset, there are many ways to learn.  Here are a few examples:

  • Embrace challenges – these are really learning opportunities in disguise.
  • Don’t fear making mistakes – sometimes that’s when you learn the most.
  • Everyone learns differently. So, try different strategies until you find one that works for you.


Hard work is not something to try and avoid.  Instead, hard work is viewed as an opportunity to improve yourself.  Remember, perfection is not something that happens on the first try.  Learning takes time and it takes practice to get better.

Trying New Things:

Comfort zones are well, comfortable.  They are comfortable for a reason – you know what to expect and how to respond.  But if you always stay in your comfort zone, you will have less opportunities to learn and grow.  So, get out there and try something new!

What are the Benefits of a Growth Mindset?

People who have a growth mindset are happier, more successful and less stressed out than people with a fixed mindset.  They believe that problems can be fixed, so any situation can be improved for the better.  Adopting a growth mindset doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and effort.  So, embrace challenges and keep trying! 

Here’s a quote that I think summarizes a growth mindset perfectly: “You don’t just wake up and become the butterfly.  Growth is a process.” – Rupi Kaur. 

Are you ready to become a butterfly?

Until my next blog post, here’s wishing you lots of joy and happiness!

With love,


Hi! I'm Joanne. I’m a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA). Money management is a life skill that I passionately believe all people need to learn. As an accountant, I love helping people understand numbers and money. At BuildingJoyAndHappiness, I share my tips to money management and make understanding finances simple.

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