Fixed vs. Growth Mindset - 7 ways to Change your Thought Patterns

Updated: Mar 31

Q&A with Aicha Gaye, Self-Love & Mindset Coach


Aicha is a Self-Love & Mindset Coach, Kundaliniyoga & Meditation Teacher but most importantly a Mama.


She is a former theatre actress and is still passionate about theatre and has hosted

workshops where she combined improvisation theatre with meditative excersises.

She is dedicated to empower women to embrace themselves with self-love and acceptance - Guiding them to find and grow the confidence and the right mindset they need to create their dream life.

Photo: Yurika Palmqvist

Aicha runs her business and coaching program online from Stockholm, Sweden with clients around the world. We caught up with her for a Q&A about fixed and growth mindset and to learn the 7 different ways to change your thought patterns.


What is a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is when one assumes that abilities and understanding are relatively fixed.

Those with a fixed mindset may not believe that intelligence can be improved, or the belief

that you either “have it or you don’t” when it comes to abilities and talents.

Here are 3 examples of a fixed mindset thinking:

  1. "I just can't do this"

  2. "I'm not good at this"

  3. "This is too hard"

What is the definition of a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is “the understanding that abilities and understanding can be developed”

(Mindset Works, n.d.). Those with a growth mindset believe that they can get smarter, more

intelligent, and more talented through putting in time and effort.

Here are 3 examples of a growth mindset thinking:

  1. "I can always improve so i'll keep trying"

  2. "I choose to learn from my mistakes"

  3. "I'll use a different strategy"


What is the main difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset?


The main difference between the two mindsets is the belief in the permanence of

intelligence and ability; one views it as very permanent, with little to no room for change in

either direction, while the other views it as more changeable, with opportunities for

improvement.

This difference in mindset may lead to differences in behavior as well. If someone believes

intelligence and abilities are immutable traits, they are not likely to put in much effort to

change their inherent intelligence and abilities. On the other hand, those who believe they can change these traits may be much more willing to put in extra time and effort to achieve more ambitious goals. With a growth mindset, individuals may achieve more than others because they are worrying less about seeming smart or talented and putting more of their energy into learning (Dweck, 2016).


Can you tell us about a time when you faced an important opportunity or challenge with a fixed mindset - What were your thoughts and worries?

I have plenty of challenges but I will tell you about a time when I was lacking in self-love

and worth. I was working in the fashion industry for many years and absolutely hated it.

"My mind was negative and I didn't believe that I could do anything about my situation"

I was longing for meaningful and creative work but I was stuck. So why did I feel stuck?

Because my mind was negative and I didn't believe that I could do anything about my

situation. This led to anxiety and burnout and it took me some real time and effort to regain

my health.


7 ways to change your thought patterns

  • Create a new belief - with this I mean: a belief in yourself, in your own skills and abilities, and in your capacity for positive change.

  • View failure in a different light: see failure as an opportunity to learn from your experiences. In fact, you can remove the word failure and replace it with learning.

  • Cultivate your self-awareness: work on becoming more aware of your talents, strengths, and weaknesses; gather feedback from those who know you best and put it together for a comprehensive view of yourself.

  • Be curious and commit to lifelong learning: try to adopt the attitude of a child. When I look at my daughter and other children I can see how they look at the world with such awe and curiosity.

  • Embrace challenges: know that if you wish to accomplish anything, you will face many challenges on your journey; prepare yourself for facing these challenges, and for failing sometimes.

  • Do what you love and love what you do: it’s much easier to succeed when you are passionate about what you’re doing; whether you cultivate love for what you already do or focus on doing what you already love, developing passion is so important.

  • Be persistent: it takes a lot of hard work to succeed, but it takes even more than working hard—you must be persistent, face obstacles and getting back up after each time you fall.


How can you learn to hear your fixed mindset voice?

Pay attention to the voice that pops up when you face new challenges. This is the voice of

your fixed mindset, and it likely only has negative things to say about you and your abilities.

Fixed mindset voice might say something like “You really think you can do it?” or “This is

too difficult for you, just give up and do something else!”

Photo: Anette Bruzan

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