fixed vs growth mindset


How many of you have heard a friend, co-worker, or loved one say one of the following things?

“When I’m frustrated, I give up”

“I’m either good at it or I’m not”

“I don’t like to be challenged”

“I stick to what I know”


Now on the flip side, how many people have you heard say one of the following?

“I can learn to do anything I want”

“Challenges help me to grow”

“I am inspired by the success of others”

“I like to try new things”


I am sure you have heard many people say similar things to the statements above. Maybe even the same person said one from each category but about different topics. What response you give is determined by your mindset.


Your mindset is the established set of attitudes held by an individual.


Your mindset can be fixed (the first four quotes) or growth (the second four quotes). Put simply, fixed mindsets are limited by challenges set in front of them. Whereas growth mindsets seek to overcome the challenges ahead of them. But is not that cut and dry as mindsets are on a continuum. You aren’t just one or the other, you lay somewhere in between! This can also depend on the activity or situation.


Acute injuries can happen very suddenly and be quite painful or traumatic. A fixed mindset towards this type of injury tends to dwell on the injury and be upset by things that are beyond their control. A growth mindset acknowledges the injury, but see’s the recovery as a challenge to overcome.


Chronic injuries may not be as severe pain wise, but the pain can linger and last much longer. A fixed mindset see’s this pain as their new limitation; or the limiting factor of their new life. A growth mindset will seek out new treatment and push the boundaries of what they perceive is the limitation. A growth mindset will also set realistic goals and tends to not be as affected by setbacks.


Every situation is different. But individuals with a growth mindset generally are more optimistic and willing to try what is available at their disposal to get better. There is even some evidence that suggests optimism is a predicator of patient rated pain severity. This evidence was based on patients with knee osteoarthritis pre-and post surgery.


This is obviously easier said than done. Pain sucks! And you have every right to be upset about an injury. It’s about what you do after the injury. If we can change our mindset about injuries, to sway us towards the growth mindset continuum, than it will be for the better!



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