Break Free from Your Fixed Mindset and Win at Life

You applied for a prestigious promotion at work, but your coworker got the job instead. 

Your reaction may highlight your mindset.

People with a fixed mindset give up. They’ll quiet quit or snub their collegue, thinking they’ll never get ahead.

And they’re right. 

If they don’t think they can do better, they won’t, and the promotion will always allude them.

However, their own fixed mindset holds them back, not reality. 

What is a Fixed Mindset?

A fixed mindset is a limiting belief about yourself and the world.

People with a fixed mindset believe everyone is born with innate talents and abilities. You either have it or you don’t.

If you don’t have it, there’s nothing you can do. You lost the genetic lottery and must resign yourself to a life of mediocrity.

The mindset applies to nearly everything, from intelligence to social skills.

How a Fixed Mindset Inhibits Growth

People with a fixed mindset struggle to grow, not because they’re incapable of growth, but because they believe they are.

The old saying, ” Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,” highlights why people with fixed mindsets cannot grow.

Belief is powerful.

If you don’t think you can learn something, you won’t even try. You may put on a show of trying, but it will be an act. You’ve already convinced yourself you can’t, so you won’t, no matter what anyone else says.

Instead of trying, you’ll double down on your inability, claiming it’s too hard or beyond your skill. You’ll let jealousy control your life as you side-eye your coworkers, wondering what they have that you don’t.

A fixed mindset leads to resentment, anger, and depression. You believe you’ll never amount to anything, so you don’t and fall deeper into a pit of despair.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

How To Tell You Have a Fixed Mindset

Discovering you have a fixed mindset is the tricky part. Most people don’t fall seamlessly into one category.

You may have a growth mindset in one aspect of your life and a fixed mindset in another. You know you can improve at hockey if you practice more, yet you don’t have that same confidence in your abilities at work.

Here are some telltale signs of a fixed mindset in some aspects of your life.


People with a fixed mindset envy others who have what they want but think they can never have.

You look at others who appear to have it all, and rather than modeling their behavior or asking them to mentor you, you sulk. They must be better somehow or more well-connected. There’s no way you could achieve what they did, so you don’t try.

You’re dripping with envy.


Envy breeds resentment. You’re angry at other people for having things you want but feel you can’t have.

You start to hate people who do better than you do for no reason other than that they are achieving while you aren’t.

The envy and resentment resulting from a fixed mindset make changing even harder.

Refuse To Put in Effort

Why would you try if you don’t think you can do any better?

People with a fixed mindset throw their hands in the air, unwilling to put in the hard work it takes to succeed. Their minds block them from success. They already think they can’t do it, so why bother trying?

They refuse to put in any effort to change their positions or lives, believing it’s useless. 

Negative Self Talk

Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies. Our negativity towards ourselves keeps us trapped in a life of mediocrity.

We tell ourselves we’re no good, don’t deserve to succeed, and fail at everything we try. And we believe it!

Negative self-talk creates a fixed mindset, keeping us trapped.  

Give Up Easily

People with a growth mindset keep trying because they know practice makes perfect. They never stop until they get it right.

Those with a fixed mindset think that if they can’t do it immediately, they’ll never learn it. 

The belief that they must have natural talent to accomplish something leads them to give up after a few tries. If they don’t get it the first time, it’s no use. 

Can’t Handle Feedback

Feedback helps us grow, but if you believe growth is impossible, you won’t be able to hear it. Your ego rises to protect you against accusations that your best isn’t good enough, lashing out at anyone who dares tell you how to improve.

If improvement is impossible, feedback is cruel, and you can’t accept their cruel admonishment.

Afraid To Try

Anything is possible until you try. People with a growth mindset love trying things because they know they’ll grow regardless of the outcome.

But people with a fixed mindset fear trying. If they fail, it will be one more check mark in the column of things they can’t do. It’s better not to try than to try and discover you can’t do something.

Changing Your Mindset

If any examples of a fixed mindset speak to you, don’t worry. The good news is you can change your perspective.

Here are five ways to transform your mindset and cultivate growth.

Try Something New

People with a fixed mindset often refuse to try new things, fearing failure.

You must fight the fear. Trying something new is the best way to prove you can learn new tricks.

Start Small

You don’t have to start with a massive challenge. Try something that doesn’t matter to your life.

Take a random dance class or dabble in a new hobby. No one cares if you don’t learn how to Waltz or if your first piece of pottery turns out a little lopsided. So why do you?

Stop worrying about failing at these small hobby activities and let yourself enjoy learning them for the sake of it. You’ll get better and better at them as the class progresses, but the real lesson is in realizing that you can actually learn new things if you put a little effort into them.

Embrace Failure

Digging out of a fixed mindset is challenging. You’ll have failures and setbacks along the way.

You must embrace them!

The worst aspect of American culture is that we’ve cultivated the idea that failure is the worst thing that can happen. 

It’s not.

Failure isn’t a bad thing; it’s a good thing. It helps us try again with fresh information on what doesn’t work, getting us closer and closer to what does.

Ask for Help

Release your ego and ask for help. Stop sulking at that coworker who got a promotion and instead ask them for help. They can review your resume or offer valuable insight into what they did to get selected.

Find a mentor. Seek guidance from others who have been where you are. Stop treating everyone like competition, and treat them like valued members of your network who can help you achieve your goals. 

Seek Therapy

If your envy and resentment are holding you back, you might benefit from professional help. A therapist can help you work through the complex emotions associated with a fixed mindset and guide you toward growth.

Growth is Hard But Worth the Effort

Transforming a fixed mindset into a growth mindset is a long process that won’t happen overnight. You’ll face challenges and setbacks and may fall into old patterns.

But the rewards are worth the struggle.

Once your mindset shifts, you’ll see the world in a whole new way. You’ll see possibilities where you once saw limitations and opportunities where you once saw fear.

Letting go of the fixed mindset will help you achieve your full human potential. That’s a battle worth fighting for. 

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.