The most common example of a fixed mindset is in relation to money. People have certain ideas about what their time is actually worth. And what happens is that other people reflect this idea back to them.
So the person who values his or her time at $15 an hour will apply for jobs that reinforce the idea that they are worth $15 an hour. And they will actually self-sabotage jobs that pay them $30 an hour because “they are not worth that”.
This phenomenon was documented in a book by entrepreneur and success coach Tim Ferris called The Four Hour Work Week. What he noticed was that competition was very difficult at the bottom and medium levels because everybody was fighting it out.
But it actually gets very easy in the upper echelons of management, because they believe that are worth every penny even though they often do very little work. It can actually be easier to shoot for high-end jobs once you have the appropriate psychology compared to working your way up step by step.
This has also been demonstrated in the scientific literature to a degree. In advertising, people only notice marketing materials that are relevant to them.
Everything else is subconsciously filtered out, as the brain can only handle a limited amount of data. If we don’t change our perspective, we are going to keep seeing the same information and believing that it is the ‘truth’.
A fixed mindset can be loosely defined as a narrow and precise view of reality where we are sure about certain things. And they are only true because the fixed mindset person believes in them so strongly.
How would somebody with a fixed mindset ever change the world with a revolutionary invention? It would not be possible.
People of a fixed mindset observe the world as it is. People of a growth mindset create the world as they would like it to be. This is a huge difference.