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There are just two key mindsets, and the one you have defines your success

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Emily Reynolds
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How successful you are depends on a complex combination of circumstance, privilege, hard work, luck and talent.

But your mindset might also have something to do with it, according to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck.

She claims that there are two mindsets someone can have – and whether you have a ‘fixed’ mindset or a ‘growth’ mindset could determine how you deal with difficult situations or evaluate your life. 

A mindset, according to Dweck, is a “belief about oneself and one’s most basic qualities” – and if yours is fixed, it basically means you think that talent, intelligence and other traits are innate and can’t really be changed.

Those with a ‘growth’ mindset, however, believe that base factors like talent or intelligence can be improved through hard work or practice. 

Having a ‘fixed’ mindset can also impact your relationship to yourself or others – because you’re less flexible, obstacles can feel insurmountable and are therefore left unchallenged. ‘Growth’ mindsets recognise, however, that “setbacks and feedback aren’t about ability, they are information you can use to help yourself learn” – and also realise that romantic partners or friends are often flawed and are allowed to be imperfect.

If you’re worried you might be of the kind of unappealing ‘fixed’ slant, don’t worry – Dweck says everyone is “a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets”, so you can always work on areas you find challenging.

And if you want to find out where you sit on the scale, you can take a test on Dweck’s website here.