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The Difference Between a Fixed and Growth Work Mindset

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Every person has a different way of viewing the world, and this also translates into how they perceive work and searching for a new job. World-renowned psychologist, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is known for her research about our motivations and the power of our mindsets. We all have a specific way we view our level of talents and abilities. According to, “Dweck believes that people either have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, and knowing which one you have can make all the difference in your job search.”

What does it mean to have a fixed mindset? Having a fixed mindset means what the term implies, that you’ll have the same abilities and intelligence you were born with for the rest of your life. Dweck believes that people with a fixed mindset worry more about the adequacy of their traits and have more to prove to others and themselves. They have limiting beliefs about their abilities in that they feel there is nothing in their power to change or improve how well they do something.

What does it mean to have a growth mindset? On the other hand, when you have a growth mindset, you feel quite the opposite. Instead of believing that you are born with your abilities and not much can change that, having a growth mindset means you see your life as a continuous opportunity to learn and to grow. Instead of seeing your intelligence as a fixed point, you see that and your other characteristics as a starting point for bigger and better things. You are also more equipped to put the time in to develop who you are and into the person you want to be.

How does your mindset affect your job search? It’s pretty obvious that if you have a fixed mindset, you’re likely to have a more difficult time in your job search. You may become frustrated more easily as you won’t see a way to improve yourself or the situation you’re in when you’re not hearing back from the applications you submit. If you’re not sure what mindset you have, ask yourself a few questions like: Am I capable of learning new things? Do I have the ability to learn a new talent? If the answer is “no” then you lean toward a fixed mindset.

The encouraging thing about having a mindset is you can change it. If you’re reading this and are resonating with a fixed mindset, know that it’s in your power to move into the growth mindset. When you have more of a growth mindset, it makes your job search easier because you can adapt and change according to the current landscape. You can go back to school or work on a new course that will get you to where you want to be. Just know that there is always room to grow, and setting your mind in the right place is the first way to start.

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