If someone does these 10 things, they lack a growth mindset (and probably won’t be successful)

Have you ever heard the saying – success is a journey, not a destination?

What if I told you that your thoughts about this journey could make or break your success?

That’s right!

Success isn’t just about what we do, but also about how we think.

There are two ways people think about their abilities – a “growth mindset” and a “fixed mindset”.

If you have a growth mindset, you believe you can get better at anything with hard work and never giving up.

But if you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you can’t change your abilities no matter what you do.

Sadly, people with a fixed mindset usually don’t achieve as much as those with a growth mindset.


Because they’re less likely to take on challenges, learn from mistakes, or see hard work as something that helps them get better.

But how can you tell if someone doesn’t have a growth mindset?

Here are 10 behaviors to watch out for.

If someone does these things often, they might not have a growth mindset and could find it hard to be successful. 

1. They Avoid Challenges

The first sign that someone lacks a growth mindset is if they consistently avoid challenges.

Challenges, after all, are the stepping stones to success.

They test our abilities, push us out of our comfort zones, and force us to learn and adapt.

But for those with a fixed mindset, challenges are scary.

They see them as risks that could lead to failure, rather than opportunities for growth.

If something seems too hard or unfamiliar, they’d rather not try at all instead of risking failure.

This mindset can hold them back from trying new things and achieving their full potential.

So, if you notice someone always taking the easy way out or avoiding tasks because they’re difficult, it’s a clear sign they might not have a growth mindset.

Remember, it’s through facing and overcoming challenges that we grow and improve.

Don’t shy away from them!

2. They Give Up Easily

Another key indicator that someone lacks a growth mindset is if they give up at the first sign of difficulty.

Life is not always smooth sailing – there will be setbacks, roadblocks, and obstacles along the way.

But what truly matters is how we handle them.

People with a growth mindset see difficulties as temporary hurdles to be overcome.

They’re resilient, persistent, and understand that mistakes and failures are part of the learning process.

They know that with every challenge they face, they’re one step closer to their goal.

On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset view difficulties as insurmountable obstacles.

They get easily discouraged when things don’t go as planned and give up without putting up much of a fight.

So, if you observe someone throwing in the towel all too quickly when things get tough, it’s likely they’re operating from a fixed mindset.

Remember, perseverance is key to success – don’t give up at the first bump in the road!

3. They Don’t Value Effort

This is one that I’ve personally encountered. The third sign that someone might lack a growth mindset is if they don’t value effort.

They believe that if they’re truly talented or intelligent, things should come easily to them without much work.

I used to have a friend in high school who was incredibly smart. He aced tests without studying and could solve complex problems with ease.

But when it came to subjects that didn’t come naturally to him, he struggled.

Instead of putting in extra effort to understand and improve, he’d dismiss those subjects as unimportant or beneath him.

That’s when I realized he had a fixed mindset.

He believed his intelligence was set in stone and didn’t see the point in putting in effort where he wasn’t naturally gifted.

However, those with a growth mindset understand that effort is a crucial part of the journey to success.

They know that even if they’re not good at something now, they can become proficient with practice and hard work.

So, if you notice someone dismissing the value of hard work or feeling frustrated when things require more effort than expected, it’s likely they lack a growth mindset.

Remember, nothing worth having comes easy!

4. They Ignore Useful Feedback

Did you know that Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, once said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve”?

Well, it seems people with a fixed mindset didn’t get the memo.

A person with a growth mindset understands that feedback isn’t personal; it’s a tool for improvement.

They listen to constructive criticism and use it to make positive changes.

They see feedback as a gift that helps them identify their weaknesses and work on them.

On the flip side, those with a fixed mindset often ignore useful feedback.

They view criticism as a personal attack and choose to ignore it rather than learn from it.

They’re so focused on protecting their ego that they miss out on valuable opportunities to grow and improve.

So if someone consistently brushes off feedback or gets defensive when given advice, they likely lack a growth mindset.

Remember, constructive criticism is a stepping stone to improvement, not an attack on your abilities!

5. They Feel Threatened by Others’ Success

This one is truly heartbreaking to see in action.

Have you ever noticed how some people can’t seem to feel happy for others when they achieve success?

This is often a sign of a fixed mindset.

People with a growth mindset feel inspired by the success of others.

They see it as proof that with hard work and dedication, they too can achieve their goals.

They congratulate their peers and celebrate their victories, knowing that everyone’s journey is different and there’s enough success to go around.

However, those with a fixed mindset often feel threatened or jealous when others succeed.

They compare themselves to others and feel inadequate if someone else achieves something they haven’t.

Instead of being motivated, they feel defeated.

So if you see someone who consistently feels threatened by others’ accomplishments instead of celebrating with them, it’s likely they lack a growth mindset.

Remember, someone else’s success does not diminish your own. Let’s lift each other up instead of tearing each other down!

6. They Stick to What They Know

I remember when I was just starting out in my career, I had a colleague who was extremely good at what he did.

He was the go-to guy for a specific task and everyone admired his skills. But he never ventured out of his area of expertise.

He was offered training in other areas, opportunities to work on different projects, but he always declined.

He stuck to what he knew, and never tried to learn anything new.

This is a classic sign of a fixed mindset. People with a growth mindset are lifelong learners. They’re curious, open-minded, and always eager to learn new things.

They understand that the world is evolving and they need to constantly update their skills and knowledge to keep up.

On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset often stick to what they know.

They’re comfortable in their bubble and resist stepping out of it.

They see learning new things as unnecessary effort, rather than an opportunity for growth.

So if someone consistently resists change or learning new things, they likely lack a growth mindset.

Remember, the more you learn, the more you grow!

7. They Blame Others for Their Failures

Life’s not always rainbows and butterflies. We all mess up, we all stumble, and we all have our fair share of failures.

But how we react to those failures? That speaks volumes about our mindset.

Those with a growth mindset take ownership of their mistakes.

They understand that they messed up, and they’re the only ones responsible for it.

They don’t play the blame game but instead ask themselves, “What can I learn from this? How can I do better next time?”

On the contrary, those with a fixed mindset? They’re quick to point fingers.

If something goes wrong, it’s never their fault. It’s always someone else’s mistake or the universe conspiring against them.

They refuse to take responsibility for their actions and miss out on important lessons.

So if you see someone always blaming others for their setbacks instead of owning up to them, chances are they lack a growth mindset.

Failures are not stumbling blocks but stepping stones to success – but only if you’re willing to learn from them!

8. They Don’t Believe in Improvement

We’re all capable of growth and improvement, no matter our age or circumstances.

However, people with a fixed mindset don’t believe in this. They think that their intelligence and abilities are fixed traits that can’t be improved upon.

They believe they’re born with a certain amount of talent or intelligence, and that’s all they’ll ever have.

On the other hand, those with a growth mindset embrace the concept of neuroplasticity.

They understand that with effort, practice, and perseverance, they can always improve their skills and abilities.

So if you notice someone saying they’re ‘just not good’ at something and not doing anything to improve, they likely have a fixed mindset.

No one is born an expert; we all can learn and improve.

9. They Don’t Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

This is something I’ve struggled with myself.

My comfort zone was my safe haven, and stepping outside of it was a daunting thought.

But over the years, I’ve learned that growth doesn’t happen in comfort zones.

People with a growth mindset understand this.

They know that to grow and learn, they must challenge themselves and step into the unknown.

They’re not afraid to take risks and try new things because they know that’s where the magic happens.

On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset prefer to stay within their comfort zone.

They stick to what they know and avoid unfamiliar situations.

They fear the unknown and view it as a threat rather than an opportunity for growth.

So if you notice someone constantly playing it safe and avoiding new experiences, they likely lack a growth mindset.

Remember, stepping out of your comfort zone may be scary, but it’s also where you’ll find the greatest opportunities for growth.

10. They Prioritize Looking Smart Over Learning

Let’s be real here. We all like to look smart, right? But there’s a big difference between wanting to look smart and prioritizing it over actually learning.

People with a growth mindset focus on learning.

They’re not afraid to ask questions, admit they don’t know something, or make mistakes because they understand that’s how they learn and grow.

They value knowledge and personal growth over appearances.

On the flip side, those with a fixed mindset often prioritize looking smart over learning.

They’re so concerned about appearing intelligent or talented that they avoid situations where they might not know something or might make mistakes.

So if you see someone who’s always trying to appear smarter than they are and avoiding situations where they might not look as smart, they probably lack a growth mindset.

It’s better to be a learner than to pretend to be a know-it-all.

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Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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