What is the Opposite of a Growth Mindset

Do you believe that anything can be learned from failure? Failure can be a very valuable learning experience. It can help us identify what we want to succeed at and what activities are not worth our time. 

Failure results from taking action with the expectation that it will lead to a certain outcome. 

Sometimes those actions don’t produce the desired results, and that’s when failure comes into play. 

However, there may be situations where we fail to see how critical failure is. An over-focus on maintaining a perfect image or avoiding mistakes can prevent us from growing as people and professionals. 

Conversely, an under-focus on failure robs us of opportunities to learn new things and improve our performance in other areas.

Definition of a Fixed Mindset

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is a belief that you have specific talents, interests, or abilities and are incapable of improving them. 

It’s important not to hold too much pride in your skills and to accept that there’s always room for improvement. 

Successful people often have an attitude of risk-taking and experimentation. 

They know that failure is inevitable, but they don’t let it stop them from taking action. A fixed mindset can be especially damaging if it occurs in childhood. 

When we grow up with ideas such as “I can’t do math”, “I can’t sing well”, “I’m not coordinated enough to play sports”, our minds may become “fixed” on these beliefs before we even have the chance to take action on them and learn more about what we’re capable of. 

This can lead us to assume that there’s nothing we can do because our talent doesn’t exist (like with math or singing).

Fixed Mindset Examples

One example of the opposite of a growth mindset is when you believe one specific skill set or ability is beyond your reach—this mindset can be problematic. 

For instance, if you are a musician who believes that you don’t have the talent to make it in this field and that an inherent talent like playing music is not something anyone can learn from failure, then you will never take the steps necessary to try to become successful. 

Or if you are a child who does not believe in yourself and doesn’t work hard enough, then you might struggle when faced with adversity.

Studies on Fixed Mindset

There is a difference between a fixed and a growth mindset, coined by Stanford professor Carol Dweck

A fixed mindset believes people possess certain traits and abilities that can’t be changed or developed. 

A growth mindset is one where people believe they can improve their performance with focused effort. 

Dweck has found that individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to take risks and try new things, leading to improved performance in areas like education, business, and relationships. 

Those with a fixed mindset may experience cognitive blocks when trying new tasks, preventing them from taking risks and improving their skills in other areas of life.

Limits of a Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is one in which individuals believe their talents and abilities are fixed. It is a belief that we are born with a certain amount of intelligence, and there’s nothing we can do to change this. 

The opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset, which means individuals believe they can improve their skills with practice. 

This perspective allows people to learn from mistakes and gives them the drive to keep working towards achieving more than they could before. 

With a growth mindset, you consider failure your first step toward success.

Difficulty in Learning

To learn from failure, we must first realize that it is a part of life. 

We shouldn’t avoid making mistakes or failing because we don’t think it will benefit our image or reputation. 

Accepting failure is part of life, and not worth avoiding is essential. The key to learning effectively from our failures is recognizing different types of failures. 

Dealing with setbacks: In this type of failure, you failed to meet your goals but still accomplished something. 

Maybe you did not get into college but graduated with honors. 

Learning from success: This type of failure can happen when we succeed at something and then find out that we could have done better. 

Maybe after achieving your goal, you felt like more work was needed before achieving a higher level of performance in the future.

Changing a Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is a mindset that focuses on perfection, while a growth mindset focuses on learning and improvement. 

The fixed mindset will always be focused on achieving the following perfect outcome. Meanwhile, the growth mindset will focus on trying new things and improving daily. 

To change your fixed mindset into a growth mindset, you need to learn how to reframe failure. When we fail, it can be an opportunity to learn something new. We may even learn valuable lessons that help us succeed in other areas of life or work.


A fixed mindset constantly looks for ways to improve, while a growth mindset focuses on learning and improving. The difference is that a fixed mindset looks for shortcuts to get what they want, while a growth mindset takes the time and effort to learn and grow.