Learning how to develop a growth mindset can change the trajectory of your life. The type of mindset you have could mean a world of difference in the opportunities you are presented with. It could mean the difference between you either getting a job or not. Whatever it is, learning ways to develop a growth mindset can help open your mind up to many new and exciting possibilities in life.
The difference between a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset, is that a person with a fixed mindset believes that your success is dependent on what you already know. Their belief is that there is no room for improvement and no point in trying to acquire a skill you don’t know. You’ve either got it or you don’t. A person with a growth mindset however, believes that you are always able to grow and develop your skills through learning. They believe that with lots of practice and patience, there is always room for improvement.
Is A Fixed Mindset Bad?
A fixed mindset can perhaps be looked at as giving into the primitive part of your brain. This is the part of your brain that is always trying to protect you based off of our hunter-gatherer history as humans. Keep in mind that this was a time where humans were always out in the open, exposed to wild animals and vulnerable to the environment around them. Back then, our primitive brains main objective was to keep us safe at all costs.
Cut to the 21st century. We have little use for this part of our brains when it comes to our survival. However, that safety mechanism still shows up in different ways as we’ve evolved. If you look closely, you’ll notice that these primitive instincts show up today as a ‘resistance’ towards change, which is essentially what a fixed mindset is. Fixed = Resistance. For example, someone with a fixed mindset would say, “I don’t care to try sports because I am simply just not any good at it,” when they’ve only tried it once and failed at it.
If you’ve never tried or practiced something before, it feels unattainable and difficult until you do. This is because your primitive brain is keeping you ‘safe’ from things that may be difficult and unfamiliar by resisting it. By learning ways to develop a growth mindset, we can change this and rewire our minds to get comfortable with change.
Why Is It Important To Develop A Growth Mindset?
Since our brains have been wired to resist change, it is important that we work at rewiring it. The mind is like a muscle, as long as you keep training it, it will transform. Learning how to achieve a growth mindset is important because it allows you to adapt to delayed gratification, which benefits you more in todays society. Back then, instant gratification was what inspired us to get up and get things done. For example, the sooner you hunt an animal and the sooner you’ll get fed. You were being instantly gratified for your work in this sense. Today, however the tables have turned.
The things we want, in the world we live in today come with delayed gratification. The six-figure job, the new apartment and the body you want, all come with long periods of consistent amount of effort before you are actually rewarded. Reading that alone can already sound hard enough, but that’s why its important to develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset is what will help you achieve your goals and stick to them in the long run, even when it gets tough. Where most people look at life and go, “I could never try that.” A growth mindset will make you look at what life has to offer you and say “actually, I can do this!”
Nothing is off your radar with a growth mindset. It doesn’t matter what background you come for, how old you think you are or whether or not you think you’re capable of something. With a growth mindset, you can do anything you put your mind to.
Carol Dweck’s Fixed vs. Growth Mindset Research
If you’re interested in this topic, you may have come across Dr. Carol Dweck. Dweck is a psychology professor at Stanford University who coined the term, ‘Growth Mindset’ (along with fixed mindset) since the launch of her book, ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.’ Dweck is famous for her research done on thousands of kids, based on monitoring how a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset contributes to their overall success and outlook on life.
Dweck’s studies show that children with a growth mindset are more prone to success in their grades compared to children with a fixed mindset. This is because a growth mindset is accepting of challenges, constructive criticism and believes that anything is possible with effort, practice and patience. Her work also emphasizes the power of ‘yet.’ She encourages parents and teachers to use the words, ‘not yet’ instead of giving kids a dead end ‘fail’ or ‘no’ at something they just can’t get quite right ‘yet.’ This encourages children to try again and develop a growth mindset instead of a fixed one.
27 Ways To Develop A Growth Mindset
How To Break A Fixed-Mindset Pattern :
1. Become Aware Of Your Current Mindset
If you’ve come to realize that you have a fixed mindset when it comes to certain things, this is good! You’re becoming aware of the things you can change. Its important to know where we stand with ourselves so that we can create room for improvement. As I wrote the paragraph above, I asked myself, “what are the things I’m opposed to doing or trying in my life?” One of the biggest things for me was sport. I felt like it was never for me, nor would I even try being good at it all these years because I was just repeating the story in my head that, “I am bad at sport.”
Notice the areas in your life where you say this to yourself for starters. You’ll come to realize that it doesn’t matter how great you are at certain things or how much of a growth mindset you have, because you will always have these little things you’re ‘fixed’ on. These don’t always have to be bad things or things that you want to change. For example, having your morals like not accepting cheating in a relationship is something you should 1000% be fixed on and so on.
2. Notice Where Your Self-Doubt Comes From
Essentially, when you have fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset on certain things, this is your self-doubt showing up. Its important to notice where this self-doubt comes from. Perhaps someone in your childhood told you that you were never good at something or you didn’t have the best support structure around you growing up. These little things can really change the trajectory of our lives, especially when we’re young and impressionable. Our parents, teachers, friends and family as well as the society we grew up in, can really impact us and the way we view ourselves. These ‘fixed’ beliefs we have about ourselves are where our self-doubts come from.
If you were always told you were bad at math when you were little, that has most likely impacted your life choices today in a big way. Options like working a science, tech, engineering or math job are probably now closed off to you because you were taught you never had the skills for it. This could even be the other way around for you. Perhaps you’re pushed into law or accounting when you just always wanted to go the creative route. Unfortunately, when we’re young we aren’t that confident in ourselves yet, and we fall victim to the people and environments around us that project their own fixed beliefs onto us. However, once you notice where your self-doubt comes from, you can give yourself the confidence you were never given to go toward the things you still want in life.
3. Change The Way You View Yourself
Are you someone like me, who’s been telling yourself you’re bad at sport your entire life without even putting any effort or practice into it? Or have you actually put in the hours of effort and practice enough to make that assumption? Our self-talk enforces these ideas in our minds of what we are and aren’t capable of. We believe the stories we repeat to ourselves so much so that we act on them and they become apart of who we are. Therefore, in order to create effective change, we have to change our identity by changing the way we view ourselves.
If you think you’re ‘bad’ at something you really would love to do, like art or crunching numbers, allow yourself the time and space to learn that skill. Remember, its not just a matter of not ‘yet!’
4. What Could You Accomplish With Practice, Effort And Patience
In learning ways to develop a growth mindset, its important to notice the things you could accomplish with practice, effort and patience. These things don’t necessarily have to be new to you either. It could be something you’re already good at doing and want to improve on. For instance, my goal has always been to make this blog a success, I know writing is something I’m good at, however up until recently I’ve just never really put in the time, effort and patience it takes to make it a success (yet!). This is because of my own laziness, excuses and lack of motivation that I have only myself to blame for.
Ask yourself what this looks like for you. Perhaps you want that corner office but you’re not really contributing as much as your co-worker who just got promoted. Maybe you want to attract a good partner into your life, but you can’t even match up to those qualities just yet. Get clear on what it is you want in life and where you are willing to put your efforts. With practice, effort and patience there’s almost nothing you could want in life that you won’t be able to accomplish.
How To Start Developing A Growth Mindset :
5. Start Seeing Failures As Lessons
People with a growth mindset often see failures as lessons. This means that if they fail at something, they don’t write it off. Instead they try again at it until they see improvement and get it right. People with a growth mindset know that failures are just a stepping stone that help us grow and learn how to do better the next time around.
6. Don’t Take Criticism Personally
One thing that many of us are guilty of is taking criticism personally. This is a fixed mindset trait. Of course, yes there are times where you know the difference between someone who is trying to put you down compared to someone who is just trying to give you constructive criticism. A trainer at the gym for example is someone who gives you constructive criticism when performing your workout routine. People with a growth mindset don’t get offended by this, instead they use the criticism they get to improve on their skills and performance because they know that its for their own betterment. So if you want to learn how to develop a growth mindset, take constructive criticism from the right people!
7. Approach Challenges or Change As New Opportunities
Another way to develop a growth mindset is approach challenges or change in your life as new opportunities. Change can be very instant, difficult and lonely in truth, but the reality is that you get to choose how you want to view your situation. People with a growth mindset who encounter setbacks know that it is only temporary. Perhaps you have a bad day, got fired, broken up with, kicked out or whatever the case may be. These changes come with a blank slate if you choose to view them that way. Yes its tough, but it can be exciting to look forward to if you just change your perspective and look at these challenges as new opportunities.
8. Fall In Love With The Process Not The Reward
Learn to fall in love with the process and not the result. People with a growth mindset acknowledge that things take time and there’s no point in waiting for the next best thing. They understand that the lessons on the way to their journey have more value than the result. They know that through the knowledge they’ve acquired along their journey they will always be able to repeat their result again and again, better and better each time with the experience they have.
Think about it. For a business man would it be more valuable for him to lose $100,000 or lose all the experience he’s got? If he lost $100,000 he would know how to make it again and again with his experience. Experience is the most valuable asset we have so appreciate and embrace the journey. You’ll come out on the other end being grateful for what you went through.
9. Don’t Be Afraid To Try
The difference between a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset is that a person with a growth mindset isn’t afraid to try. They don’t care about how they look, how they may be judge or what others will say about them. Their focus is on what they’re doing, not on anyone else. When you have a growth mindset you know that trying gets you one step closer to success. It doesn’t matter if you fail, the point is that you’ve tried and in doing so you’re one step closer to succeeding. Whether you try at a business, an exam, a relationship or whatever it may be and you fail, it doesn’t mean your efforts have gone to waste. It means that you now know what to do and what not to do the next time around in order to improve yourself and do better.
10. Stop Seeking Validation or Approval
People with a growth mindset don’t seek anyone else’s approval. This mindset is so freeing because it allows you to just be yourself and focus on you freely. The things you want in life can so easily be stumped on when you take in other people opinions. Most people have a fixed mindset and are simply just too afraid to do most of the things you have the courage to do with your life. Either that or they aren’t willing to put in the effort on a dream they have and you are. Either way, seeing you live their dream can be scary. We all know the saying, ‘misery loves company,’ so don’t fall victim to their words or actions.
If you want to be successful in anything you do in life, you’re going to have to stand up for yourself even when no one else believes in you. You don’t need anyone’s approval or validation to start that YouTube channel, business or TV show. It doesn’t matter how public or private whatever you want to do is or who sees. Just start. The most successful people you see today like Elon Musk and Gary Vee, were all laughed at for their ideas at one point. Regardless of that, nothing stopped them from achieving what they wanted in life and today people admired them for it.
11. Be Opened To Acquiring New Skills
In order to cultivate a growth mindset, you have to start learning how to be opened to acquiring new knowledge and skills. In doing so, you are opening your mind to seeing new opportunities for improving and bettering yourself. You are training your mind for growth by doing this. The more you learn and develop your skills the faster you will be able to pick up on other things in different areas of your life too. Once you master one area of your life, you’ll start to notice just how connected these lessons are.
12. Incorporate The ‘Yet’ Mindset
Like Carol Dweck said in her TED Talk, it is important to incorporate the mindset of ‘yet’ into our daily lives. When you find yourself going through setbacks in life, don’t look at it as a complete dead end. Just remind yourself that it is not ‘yet’ time. Perhaps more time, effort and practice needs to go in before you achieve that certain thing you want. This could be in school, the work place and so on. It is okay if things don’t instantly work out for you the way you think they should. It just means that you need a bit more preparation to meet the opportunity. Who knows, the journey you go on may even put you on a whole other level compared to the one you were aiming for.
13. Be Optimistic
If you haven’t noticed by now, a growth mindset is one that is optimistic about life. The paradigm you view your life through is exactly how you will experience your life. This will effect the types of opportunities, people and situations you bring about in your life. Why live a life of gloom and doom all the time when you can choose a life of happiness and successful outcomes just by changing your perspective?
14. Train Your Brain
In saying the above, you have the power to train your brain to see more of the things you want to bring about in your life. When you do this you are taking control of the trajectory of your life. If you want to learn more about how to do this, I have written a blog post on how to visualize and manifest your dream life that will teach more about how the brain works on a scientific level. Its super interesting!
15. Educate Yourself
With that said, you have a responsibility to always be learning and growing. No one else is going to walk you through it, you’re gonna have to this one on your own. Reading books on self-improvement, consuming content like the one you’re reading right now and taking in inspiring, motivating and educational information is how you educate yourself more. Ignorance really is choice after having read that.
16. Focus On Systems Not Goals
In order to develop a growth mindset, focus on the actual system and not the result. Stop worrying about whether you will get your degree, and start worrying more about how you can get your assignments done to the best of your ability or how you can improve on your results this year. Focus more on your systems instead of goals. Get into a good routine, get more hours of study in, improve on your errors and see where and how you can leverage yourself, instead of worrying about your goals. Worrying about your goals is not going to get you to achieve them, focusing on your systems will.
17. Place Value On Hard Work Over Talent
One big difference between a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset is that people with a fixed mindset believe that you have to have ‘talent’ in order to be good at something. A person with a growth mindset however, places value on hard work over talent because they know that people aren’t just born with it. They learn it. One way or another people are exposed to something and through desire to learn they are able to do so quickly. That desire however, isn’t always there which is why you have to motivate yourself to do the hard work sometimes. This is why hard work is more valuable over talent. It is resilience of a growth mindset that keeps you pushing even when everything around you is falling apart.
18. Get Inspired By Others Success
People with a growth mindset are inspired by other people success. They are not jealous or resentful because when they see people achieve success, they now know that it is possible for them to achieve it too. If you want to obtain a growth mindset, start getting inspired by those who have what you want instead of feeling resentful towards them. If they can do it, you can do it too.
19. Become Self-Aware
I know we covered this up there but self-awareness is not a once off thing. People with a growth mindset are always self-aware of their words and actions. They are always questioning why they’ve acted a certain way or done a certain thing in order to analyze and improve themselves. When you become self-aware of your words and actions you will be able to get through things quicker and not waste too much time pondering on your losses and mistakes. Our brains have a need to figure things out when unresolved, so becoming self-aware is a great way to put the noise at rest.
20. Practice Reflection
With that said, people with a growth mindset practice self-reflection. Whether that’s through daily journaling, tracking their habits or taking a long walk to reflect on how their day went. Reflection is an essential part of their growth and success. Reflecting on how you could have been better and improved will help you to come up with better solutions to your problems.
21. Always Be Willing To Improve
The key to a growth mindset as you’ve seen thus far, is to always be willing to improve. The point of growth is to develop your skills and learn from your mistakes so that you become a better version of yourself. The more you’re willing to improve certain skills and learn from your failures, the quicker you’ll become the best at what you do. That is how the best of the best, most successful people in the world got to where they are now. Through constantly self-improving!
22. Be Opened To New Concepts, Things and Ideas
One thing people with a growth mindset do really well compared to those with a fixed mindset, is that they are opened to new concepts, things and ideas. This is how they are able to live a great, fulfilled life. They are not closed off to new things that could make a whole world of difference in their lives, nor are they closed off to anything that opposes their way of thinking. They simply take what works for them and leave what doesn’t without judgement.
23. Stop Seeing The World As Black Or White
Having a growth mindset means that you don’t see the world as black or white. There is no either or, nor is there any one way streak in the right or wrong way of doing things. These people usually make great leaders because they are also very inclusive of everyone’s opinions and ideas. They are able to listen and understand where all different types of people are coming from without judgement and make them feel heard and validated.
24. Be Realistic
People with a growth mindset are also realistic. This doesn’t mean they have a fixed mindset, it simply means that they know where putting their time and efforts are worth it. For example, if you’re someone who wants to start an online business, but has rent to pay at the end of each month, you’re not gonna immediately go quit your job and start living on the hope that you business will make you money by the end of the month. You’re gonna work a while, save and then follow your dream or perhaps even do it on the side. This is thinking realistically.
25. Take Responsibility For Your Life
There are many ways to develop a growth mindset, but the main thing you should always be focused on, is taking responsibility for your life. Are you going to blame your parents for never giving you a higher education or are you going to go out, get a job and do it yourself? Will you end up being apart of the 91% of people who don’t achieve their goals each year, or will you be apart of the 9%? These are the little choices in life that determine our success. No one is coming to save you. You are responsible for yourself so that at the end of the day, you can say you did it all on your own!
26. Foster Grit And Become Resilient
People with a growth mindset have more grit than others because of how determined they are to achieve their goals. No matter what storm comes their way or how they’re feeling, they have the ability to get up and get things done. This is what makes successful people successful. When other people are giving up, these people are only just getting started. They are resilient when it comes to what they want and will stop at nothing to get it.
27. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Jack Canfield once said, you are become the people you hang around. If you are able to, start joining people who are already where you want to be in life. This will help you grow into the person you want to become because you will slowly start to pick up on the things they do and the habits they set for themselves. If you aren’t around the best people, but would still like to influence the way you think, start reading books on self-improvement. If you can watch motivational videos, listen to podcasts or stay in your own lane and focus on your growth by pouring into your work, school or business.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset Examples:
- In Problems And Challenges: A growth mindset embraces challenges, whereas a fixed mindset sees it as bad.
- Taking Constructive Criticism: A growth mindset is able to take constructive criticism without taking it personally, whereas a fixed mindset takes it personally.
- Mindsets: A growth mindset is open minded to new beliefs and things they aren’t used to without judgement. A fixed mindset is staunch when it comes to their beliefs and are often closed minded.
- Grit: A growth mindset doesn’t give up easily and even goes the extra mile where possible. These people know that effort equals results, whereas a fixed mindset gives up easily.
- Others Successes: A growth mindset is inspired by the success of others, whilst a fixed mindset feels insecure and jealous of the success of others.
- Outlook On Skills: A growth mindset believes people are able to learn anything if they put their minds to it, whereas a fixed mindset believes you’re either born with it or not.
Benefits Of Developing A Growth Mindset
- More doors of opportunity are open to you. You are given more options in life because of your optimistic view.
- You are able to achieve more out of life than the average person
- You’re always able to trust yourself more because of your grit. Therefore, you have the strength to rely on yourself and your own capabilities.
- You always see failures as lessons, even in the toughest of times.
- You’re always training your mind to develop more tactical skills.
If you enjoyed this post, I have a Master Your Mindset Course you might be interested in!
What mindset do you think you have more of? Are you more growth orientated, fixed or both? Let me know in the comments below!
Alana – Mae