Hi, and thanks for a good question.
I’m a person who suffers from a fixed mindset. When I’ve set my mind on something, it is very difficult for me to change. Let’s say, for example, that I’ve decided to go on a picnic on a certain day. However, if it turns out to be raining that day, I will still go on the picnic – alone if I have to – unless the weather is super bad and forces me to stay at home, in which case I’ll get sulky and even throw a little tantrum.
The definition of a fixed mindset is that the mind is not flexible. It has difficulties adapting to change; it wants the world to fit its concepts. As soon as it doesn’t get what it wants, it reacts with anger, irritation, blame, or sadness. Furthermore, people with fixed mindsets are not seldom obsessed with principles, morality, and traditions. They might also have a tendency to be (excessively) nostalgic; they mourn the past because it represents something that appears familiar and secure to them.
It’s easy to understand why life becomes difficult for people with fixed mindsets. The world is in constant flux, perhaps now so more than ever, and that makes it difficult for someone with a fixed mindset to operate effectively in the world. He will constantly be frustrated, stressed, angry, sad, or blameful of the world. Perhaps you’ve encountered people like that. They are not particularly pleasant to be around.
Ok, there are aspects of a fixed mindset that can be beneficial to a certain degree. For example, if such a person has set his mind on something, perhaps to exercise regularly, he can establish a routine and stick to that routine no matter what. However, the fixed mindset will only get him so far. Even when it comes to routines, we need to be flexible in order to develop. We need to make adjustments, expand our mind, try new things, reevaluate what doesn’t work and so on. All of this poses real challenges for a person with a fixed mindset, who is more likely to revert to the familiarity of a set routine rather than trying to push the boundaries and expand his universe.
No, there’s really nothing good about a fixed mindset. If our mind is fixed, we should recognize that and work hard in order to change it. Personally, I’m dealing with my fixed mindset with help of meditation. Since I started, I can sense that my mind has become more flexible. I don’t get frustrated as easily when things don’t go my way, I can more easily accept other people, I can admit when I have been wrong, I can find joy in trying new things, I can be appreciative and grateful to people who are wiser than me. It’s really nice. Meditation is like stretching for the mind!
Also, and a bit regretfully, I now understand how many good things I’ve missed out on in life due to my stubborn, fixed mind. I’ve made life difficult not only for myself, but also for others, who had to adopt themselves to me. I realize that I am the one who should accommodate others, not the other way around. Before meditation, I was completely blind to all of this. All I knew was that life was hard and unfair, however that suffering was only a picture in my mind.
Meditation has really been a life-saver for me. I’m so much happier these days. I recommend everyone to try it out!