15 Signs Someone Has a Fixed Mind

1. They praise themselves constantly.

Have you ever gotten trapped in a conversation where someone actually starts giving themselves compliments? Every single one of us has felt the temptation to sing our own praises to ward off insecurity. But when you actually hear someone else do it, you understand just how ridiculous it sounds. Sometimes you have to talk yourself up a little, but there’s something at stake like a job interview or a promotion.

2. They speak in hyperbole.

The smallest wins become huge honors that prove how amazing they are. It’s like optimism on crack. They don’t need to work on their goals, because they create a reality where they’ve already achieved them.

3. They overreact to criticism.

To someone with a fixed mindset, criticism isn’t helpful. All it does is crack the beautiful alternate reality they’ve created.

4. They think they’re perfect.

If nobody ever criticizes you, that’s not necessarily a good thing. It could just mean you’ve scared away all the competent people in your life. When someone you admire criticizes you, it’s a positive sign. It means all the good stuff they said about you is probably true.

5. They’re always trying to wing it.

Some people are truly skilled in the art of improvisation. But even they sit down and prepare. They follow a process.

6. They rehearse excuses.

I’ve listened to people with more privilege and opportunity than me blame their problems on the same dilemmas everyone else has to deal with. Growth-minded people know that circumstances make things harder, but they want to win despite those circumstances.

7. They love criticizing other people.

If you’re always criticizing someone else, you have no time to worry about yourself. People with fixed mindsets do this by instinct. They thrive on it. They think it makes them look smart.

8. They raise the bar for everyone else.

Someone with a fixed mindset cares a lot about whether or not other people meet their double standards. They confuse this with what growth-minded people do — holding themselves to high standards, and typically trying to give everyone else a break.

9. They impose their taste on everyone.

We all have our favorite bands and books, and pretty much everything else. There’s nothing wrong with talking about a movie you like, or gushing about Baby Yoda. The problem is when you start thinking your taste in entertainment is superior.

10. They compare themselves to other people out loud.

It’s bad enough to do this in your head. And let’s be honest, we all do it to some degree. Something’s gone wrong with anyone who needs public affirmation of their superiority.

11. They display their envy in public.

Someone with a fixed mindset puts their jealousy front and center. They criticize anyone who achieves what they want. People with growth mindsets don’t tolerate envy in themselves. They get invested in new projects, and force themselves to show support for others.

12. All they do is talk about their plans.

They don’t just announce their goals. They don’t look for accountability partners. They’re just running their mouth about the epic trilogy they’re going to sell to Random House.

13. They don’t follow directions.

Their way of doing something is always the right one, even if it takes them twice as long and never produces results.

14. They throw adult tantrums.

Someone with a fixed-mindset views anything less than your unwavering loyalty and support as a personal assault. When things don’t go their way, they react like they’re being attacked. The adult tantrum ranges from passive-aggressive remarks to full-blown meltdowns.

15. They act on impulse.

Someone with a fixed mindset lacks the emotional intelligence to question their own decision-making. They jump at the wrong opportunities and run screaming from the right ones.

Can fixed-minded people change?

They sure can. But it requires the following:

  • See how they’re holding you back.
  • Let go of the idea of “a true self.”
  • Define yourself through your actions.
  • Accept that you’re never done learning.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store