This article is adapted from ASU CareerCatalyst's course, Grit and Growth Mindset — check out the full course here

In the vast landscape of personal and professional development, the mindset we adopt can be the determining factor between stagnation and growth. Let's delve into the intriguing dichotomy between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, exploring how these mental frameworks shape our approach to challenges, learning and success. 

Fixed Mindset: The Stagnant Haven

A Fixed Mindset hinges on the belief that talents are innate gifts, fixed and unalterable. It's a mindset that often leads individuals to rest on their laurels, basking in existing talents without harboring the ambition to learn, change or grow. In the realm of a Fixed Mindset, feelings of insecurity may arise, hindering the pursuit of challenges and pushing individuals to avoid situations that might stretch their abilities. Difficulties are seen as roadblocks, prompting a retreat rather than persistence.

Constructive criticism and feedback become adversaries in a Fixed Mindset, triggering a defensive response rather than an opportunity for growth. The success of others is perceived as a threat, creating a competitive and isolating environment. People with a Fixed Mindset seldom seek innovation or new approaches, because they’re content within the boundaries of existing knowledge.

Growth Mindset: The Catalyst for Transformation

Contrastingly, a Growth Mindset believes in the malleability of talents through hard work, strategic efforts and input from others. This mindset actively avoids resting on laurels, fostering a sense of security that comes from embracing challenges. Rather than shying away from difficulties, those with a Growth Mindset persist through them, viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and personal development.

Constructive criticism is welcomed in a Growth Mindset, seen as a valuable learning tool rather than a threat. Others' successes serve as inspiration and lessons, creating a collaborative and supportive environment. A Growth Mindset individual is inherently curious, constantly seeking new ways to approach tasks and challenges, driving innovation and continuous improvement.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset: A Personal Journey

Shifting from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset is a personal journey, marked by conscious efforts and a commitment to personal development. It involves recognizing and challenging limiting beliefs, embracing challenges as stepping stones rather than obstacles, and viewing criticism as an opportunity for improvement.


In the grand tapestry of personal and professional growth, our mindset is the loom weaving the threads of our journey. By adopting a Growth Mindset, we unlock the potential for continuous learning, resilience in the face of challenges, and a collaborative spirit that propels both individual and collective success. The choice is ours – to remain fixed in our ways or to embrace the transformative power of growth. After all, success is not a destination; it's a journey fueled by the relentless pursuit of improvement and learning.

Overcoming obstacles to grit and growth

You might face obstacles to grit and growth while preparing yourself, planning the process or working toward your goals. Now, you can think ahead to the ways your path to grit and growth could go wrong, allowing you to prevent most surprises. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst, and be selective with the goals you set. Reasonable objectives along the way will make progress easier to recognize and apathy easier to avoid. Approaches you can replicate and goals you can achieve will prevent you from growing comfortable with standing still.

When adversity knocks you down, you’re now equipped to reflect on your planning, refine your approach and rise again to overcome the obstacle. You can learn what doesn’t work — as well as what does — and realize when obstacles are too large or complex to overcome. Revisit your goals and priorities along the way to ensure they're still relevant. Take action if they aren’t, reset when you have to, and don’t wait any longer than necessary to take action.

Creating a professional growth mindset

Creating a professional growth mindset presents unique challenges due to how much is outside of your control. However, you now know to control certain things: you can limit your goals and priorities, as well as your reactions to adversity. Treat challenges and criticisms as chances to learn about triggers that could push you back into a fixed mindset. Address them and maintain motivation by taking a self-inventory. Reflect on what you do well, skills you’re working to develop, and where you have room for improvement.

You’ll soon create a professional growth mindset with honesty and curiosity as you assess yourself and establish goals. Work harder and smarter toward your professional goals — effort is worthwhile only when productive. Practice patience and persistence when progress becomes harder to make or measure. Celebrate when you achieve objectives and goals. Continue to strive for more growth, development and the achievement of ambitious goals.

This article is adapted from ASU CareerCatalyst's course, Grit and Growth Mindset — check out the full course here