The Relationship Between Fixed Mindset and Effort
Written by Aush Chatman

Today I will use two people I LOVE in a HYPOTHETICAL situation for the purpose of example/learning.

If you’ve ever been in class with these two together,  it is obvious who possesses the superior hamstring, hip flexor, ankle, everything mobility. What is not obvious is who is giving more effort in the pre-workout stretches. 

Now effort while stretching is much different than a max Snatch. Stretching is all about focus and having tension and relaxation in the right muscles all at the same time. I can assure you both of these two give GREAT effort, but let’s pretend just for a moment that “MV” doesn’t. Let’s pretend that she peeks to her side in class, see’s Bruce struggling to even get into the stretch, and is satisfied with how much further down the road she is than Bruce. 

What she would get out of this stretch is next to NOTHING. Conversely what Bruce would get is incremental improvement. MV’s focus on comparison and subsequent lack of effort, would actually hamper her growth.

But if all we see in this example is the difference in the result (MV more flexible than Bruce) we could begin engaging in a ‘fixed’ mindset. A “Fixed” Mindset as defined by Carol Dweck (in the highly recommended book Mindset), is someone who believes that their qualities and traits are fixed and cannot change. 

Instead we want to embrace a growth mindset, one that values Effort over Results. It is so natural to slip into a fixed mindset in various situations. Instead of focusing on results, focus on EFFORT, that is where the growth is. 

Try to identify what situations lead you to slip into that fixed mindset. Here are some ideas about the fixed mindset to help you think about it more concretely and gain awareness of those fixed mindset moments. 


When failures label you (when you identify as a failure)When success is about superiority (adverse comparison, ‘I’m not as good as so-and-so’, or even ‘I am better than so-and-so’)When out of your comfort zone

Be on the lookout for situations where you respond with a fixed mindset. See if you can determine your personal triggers to slip into this mindset. We ALL do it, so no one is exempt. When it happens, remember that failure is a gift for us to grow from, and that ultimately EFFORT > RESULTS!