Kasey Jo Orvidas with text: the dark side of growth mindset

The Dark Side of Growth Mindset

behavior change growth mindset igtv mindset mindset research psychology responsibility self-compassion video Apr 12, 2020


If you’ve been following the KJO Coaching blog for a while, you know that we’re all about embracing a growth mindset

Chances are, you’ve *heard* of a growth mindset before—but did you know there’s an actual science to it? I, Kasey, have a Ph.D. in Psychology and expertise in mindset science! 

A growth mindset is a mindset or the belief that your abilities, intelligence, and talents can be developed and improved through dedication, effort, and learning. 

When you embrace a growth mindset, you understand that your abilities are not fixed traits but can be developed and improved over time. A growth mindset encourages you to see challenges as opportunities for growth, to embrace failure as a chance to learn, and to believe in your ability to improve and achieve your goals with effort and determination. 

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. If you’re dealing with a fixed mindset, it means you believe your abilities are fixed and unchangeable, leading to a fear of failure and avoiding doing hard things (e.g., trying to lose weight or build muscle). 



Adopting a growth mindset can lead to increased motivation, resilience, and personal development, as you are more likely to learn from your setbacks and try to get better at the things you’re doing.

However, having a growth mindset might actually come back to bite you (and not in a good way!). We will discuss that below!


Why You Should Embrace a Growth Mindset


Having a growth mindset is beneficial because it can increase:


  • Personal responsibility⁣
  • Feelings of control⁣
  • Ability to work through setbacks⁣
  • Chances of goal achievement⁣


All of these are great things and can positively impact your fitness journey or your personal development journey.

Embracing a growth mindset can lead to personal growth, resilience, adaptability, and increased motivation. It can empower you to face challenges with a positive attitude and continuously work on improving yourself, which will lead to greater success in achieving your goals and fulfillment in various areas of life.


The Dark Side of Growth Mindset

But having a growth mindset isn’t always a good thing, and it can have some negative effects if you’re not careful. 

Here’s what can happen:

If you start to believe you are in control of your situation and have the ability to change it, then you also begin to realize that you’re responsible for your current status.⁣

You believe that you can change your body composition?⁣

Then you’re also the reason why you’re currently overweight.⁣ Ouch.

You realize that you are in control of your productivity?⁣

Then you’re also the reason you always procrastinate.⁣ Yikes.

You come to realize that you have the power to change your eating behaviors?⁣

Then you’re also at fault for your current unhealthy ways. ⁣(Yep, it’s your fault)

Recognizing your ability to change (your weight, productivity, or anything else) can also make you feel guilty or shameful for where you’re currently at.⁣

 And we all know where these negative feelings can take us.⁣

 This negative side effect is called the “double-edged sword” effect in mindset research, and it’s nearly always overlooked when we talk about increasing growth mindset.⁣

 And to be honest—facing your current situation and the things you want to change isn’t comfy. I’m willing to bet that it’s a large part of why you’re stuck in the first place.⁣

 Part of GROWING requires that you face your fixed mindset tendencies and recognize your limitations.⁣

 But this is also where the self-compassion piece comes in. You have to give yourself some tough love, but you can’t go overboard with it. 

 Read this post to learn how you can practice self-compassion while still being stern with yourself. ⁣

It is possible to believe that you can change without feeling ashamed or guilty about where you are right now. It just might take some time, effort, trial and error, and a few good people in your corner.⁣

Hiring a quality coach can help you make this change and can teach you to embrace a growth mindset without feeling guilt or shame. 

The coaches at KJO Coaching have extensive experience helping high-achieving women reach their health and fitness goals by improving their mindsets and teaching them how to move and eat in ways that support their goals. 

We know that everyone’s situation is unique, which is why we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to fitness. We find what works best for your lifestyle and teach you sustainable methods so you can not only achieve your fitness goals but so you can maintain them for life. 

Click here to learn more about working with the KJO Coaching team!


And if you want to get started on improving your growth mindset right away, check out our FREE growth mindset journal prompts.

Use these journal prompts to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset to get one step closer to achieving your goals. 

Get your journal prompts here.

Check out the original post here.


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IG: @coachkaseyjo @kjocoaching

Hi, I'm Kasey!

I coach, mentor, write, and teach with one main focus: Build strong bodies and healthy lifestyles, starting with your mindset.


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