A Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is an outlook on life that not only sees things firmly as they are, but is convinced that the way they are is unchangeable. There are three primary beliefs which characterize this type of mindset.  

First is the belief that your mindset itself can’t be changed. Next is that you as a person, and your qualities can’t change. Finally, you believe that it is impossible for the circumstances of your life and the world around you to change.

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Believing that you can’t change your mindset is the most irrational of the three areas mentioned above. Mindset is simply a combination of beliefs and attitudes, which have been formed by habits of thought. In essence, changing your mindset is as simple as training yourself to think new thoughts.

The biggest factor that is needed for you to change your mindset is openness to the possibility of change. If you have a rigid belief that your mindset is indeed set in stone, then you are right. It won’t change unless you begin to accept the idea that at least, maybe it could. And even before this, there needs to be some inkling of the idea that a bit of change might be good!

While I’m not saying that it is easy to change long-held habits of thinking, your thoughts are the things that you actually have more control of than anything else. There is nobody else but you inside your own head, and try as other people might to influence the way you think, they really can’t unless you let them.

As Viktor Frankl pointed out, “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Changing Things about Yourself

The next part of a fixed mindset is the belief that the way you are is unchangeable, and this aspect has several components;

  • Appearance including height, body shape and hair color.
  • Innate skills, talents and intelligence.
  • Personality traits, such as shyness, diligence, sense of humor and adaptability.

Some of these are influenced by environment and genetics. Others are affected by attitude or behavior.

There are some attributes, like hair color, that are clearly easy to change if you choose to do so.

Changing other physical characteristics, such as height, is obviously far less possible. What is possible though is to change the way that you look at this attribute, and also the way it affects your life.

While you might never be tall, this does not mean you can never be an excellent basketball player. Check out this amazing video of a woman born without legs who not only plays basketball, but became a champion gymnast!

Changing the World

Obviously the circumstances of the world at large seem to be logically far more out of our control than our own thoughts, bodies or abilities. So, does that mean that a fixed mindset makes sense in this arena? My answer is a resounding “no!”

While there are conditions that are clearly unlikely to change any time soon, it is entirely possible to change the way that these conditions affect your life.

Think about the economy. There are financial downturns, and periods of recession. There are also times when the economy is booming. However, this does not mean that everyone thrives during the latter, or suffers throughout the former. There are people who prosper despite a bad economy and others who experience lack even in the best of times.

The biggest difference is in mindset, and whether you are approaching life with a belief in scarcity or abundance.

The world has the ability to deliver exactly what you expect, so if you expect to be beaten up by a poor economy, you can be pretty sure that is precisely what will happen.

If you are going to have a fixed mindset, make sure that it is fixed on things that you want!

 A Fixed Mindset Limits Possibility

The only thing that is constant in life is change, so a mindset that holds rigidly to the status quo is fighting against the natural order of the universe.

Clinging to the way things have been stops you from being open to the evolution and progress that life is all about.

Change can be scary, and it may feel safer to try and keep things the same – even if the current reality is not ideal. This can be a “better the devil you know” type of thinking, but it really holds you back from the possibilities that life has to offer.

Consider the quote from Andre Gide that tells us, “We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Rather than staying stuck in a fixed mindset, why not begin loosening up the edges a little and starting to open your mind to a world in which dreams can come true?


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