Fixed vs Growth Mindset

Fixed versus Growth Mindset

Fixed vs Growth Mindset

What kind of Tai Chi student are you?

If you were to divide the population down into two types of learning styles, you could use the fixed vs growth mindset approach.  Read through the characteristics of each, which mindset do you feel you are most like?  In reality, it is not as black and white as this as it depends on many factors both within and outside of your control. What is the key essence of this approach? It is looking for potential in everything you do, no matter of ebb and flow.

When learning Tai Chi and Qigong, what makes the difference in the learning process? As a student and teacher, my answer is always a growth mindset where you embrace learning, are active and engaged in your own learning process, and are open to practice, refinement, development and many failures. Tai Chi and Qigong teach you self compassion and humility as they are life long practices that take a lot of time, patience, motivation, determination, accuracy and reflection to learn. They are not watch and follow movements like in a gym class, as this would foster the fixed mindset. They are movement arts where you must digest the principles and body mechanics, and train your body to perform them. This type of 'growth mindset' training is called gong fu, which roughly translates as applied effort achieved over time.

If you are not used to thinking in this way, when you next have a Tai Chi practice session planned at home. Go through the list and focus on an individual point, working to change your thinking through applied practice and repetition.  Use language that suits the growth mindset. Any time during your movements when you feel you are creeping into the fixed mindset, refocus, take a breath, shake it out and begin again. By fostering a growth mindset in your practice, this will help you develop a growth mindset in your daily life. Just as we teach our bodies to move deliberately and slowly, we can do this with our minds.


Fixed Mindset

  • Considers their abilities fixed
  • Struggle as failure
  • Comfort zone
  • Avoids challenge
  • Avoids failure
  • Failure as a negative
  • Set backs are failures
  • Avoids effort or practice
  • Can’t do it
  • Gives up easily
  • Only uses old methods
  • Cannot see potential
  • Blames others
  • Jealous and resentful of others
  • Unable to take constructive criticism
  • Think they know it all already
  • Outcome

Growth Mindset

  • Considers their abilities fluid
  • Struggle as an opportunity
  • Steps into the unknown
  • Pushing boundaries
  • Strives no matter of the outcome
  • Failure as a positive
  • Set backs are part of the process
  • Knows what it takes
  • Can do it
  • Simply keeps going
  • Willing to try new ways
  • Sees potential
  • Takes ownership
  • Celebrates and inspired by others
  • Open to feedback
  • Always the beginners mind
  • Process

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