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5 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset (and Excel at Life)


When we stop growing, we plateau. And we all know a plateau is a meh place to be. Fireworks and magic don’t happen on a plateau. The thing is many people don’t realize they have the internal power to expand their knowledge. To develop their emotional intelligence and become better versions of themselves, day in and day out. 

Young children are like sponges. They watch and learn, and soak up new information daily. But when, and why does this stop? What happened to our curious childlike minds? We don’t need to accept a static mind. Our skill set is not fixed. The beauty of being human is our ability to learn. And what an incredible era to be alive. We have access to intricate information on every imaginable subject at the touch of a button. We have online courses on just about every topic. 

In this article, we will discuss what a growth mindset is and the benefits this can bring to your life. Most importantly I will share tips on how you can develop a growth mindset.

What is a growth mindset? 

Put very simply, Carol Dweck defines a growth mindset as the following: 

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Carol Dweck

Even the mere idea of a growth mindset excites me. Isn’t it encouraging to know that we are all full of potential? Each of us carries the ability to journey beyond our wildest dreams. 

Carol specifies that a growth mindset is not just about effort. Whilst effort is essential. Without associated learning, effort itself does not constitute a growth mindset. We must incorporate effort and learning in order to grow.

The use of learning tools such as reflection, analysis and brainstorming helps encourage a growth mindset. 

What are the benefits of a growth mindset? 

It was Henry Ford who said:

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got

Henry Ford

A growth mindset encourages change, development, and thinking outside the box. It is an exploration and a journey. It is exciting and different. A growth mindset helps us explore life through self-improvement. And most importantly by giving us the belief that we can improve in the first place. 

A growth mindset helps us drive forward and progress through our personal life, work-life and emotional life. It encourages us to ask questions and listen to answers. It allows us to change our opinion and response based on new information. 

A growth mindset allows us to reinvent ourselves over and over again. It is also particularly good for: 

  • Embracing new opportunities.
  • Learning new skills.
  • Improving our own self esteem.
  • Developing our interpersonal relationships.
  • Improving our listening skills.

What’s the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset?

I love running, I love the process of getting fit. I revel in the feeling of pushing my body and learning new drills and skills to help me go further and faster.

If I had a fixed mindset I would see my personal best times as the peak. I leave blood, sweat and tears at my races. At the time it feels like I can’t give any more. But the day after a race I am already plotting, planning, analyzing and assessing where I can improve. 

I wasn’t always like this though. At one point in my life, I didn’t quite believe that structured training would improve my running. I didn’t believe I had the propensity to improve. I didn’t have faith that I could learn about the science of nutrition, sports psychology, recovery or specialized workout sessions. 

As you might expect, I used to have a fixed mindset. 

A fixed mindset is one where we believe our intelligence and skill set can not be improved. Our ability is already prescribed. Our destiny is set. There is no point in striving and reaching for self-improvement. It is negative, closed and stifling. 

If I can change, and develop a growth mindset from a fixed mindset, you can too. 

5 ways to help develop a growth mindset 

The good news is our brains are plastic and can be trained to lean more towards a growth mindset than a fixed mindset. Yes, this takes practice and a huge amount of self-awareness. But with these 5 strategies, I guarantee it will open up your world. 

1. Alter your mindset

When we face up to our flaws and don’t try to hide what we see as our faults, we have an immediate platform for growth. Instead of being floored by failure, take it as an opportunity to improve. Time to change our challenges into opportunities. 

Is there anyone in your world who you are secretly jealous of? Great, now take these feelings and ask yourself what you are jealous of. Instead of harboring resentment towards them, allow them to inspire you.

Often, what you are jealous of, you want for yourself. Take steps to get there. 

2. Accept setbacks 

Setbacks happen. We can’t change that. But we can change how we deal with them. If we lean into setbacks and don’t let them lower our enthusiasm or dampen our motivation, we help build a growth mindset. A setback is simply a learning opportunity. 

This is described in more detail in our article on how to persevere through challenges.

3. Be curious 

Ask questions, don’t always believe what you hear or see. Look at both sides. 

Read a book instead of scrolling on social media. Challenge yourself to read several articles a week on a topic you know nothing about. You may have no interest in bitcoin, but read an article about it. You may have no interest in veganism, but learn why so many people are choosing this way of life (and may be happier as a result).

4. Embrace your own authenticity 

Who are you? What makes you excited? What fuels your motivation and gets your heart pumping?

It’s OK to be different from your friends. It’s ok to say “no” to some social events and seek out new areas of interest. When we follow our own passions and live life in tune with our own morals and values we become more authentic. And when we are more authentic our motivation for personal growth is greater

We've published an entire article on how to be more genuine, which contains more tips on becoming more authentic.

5. Build your self confidence 

Not everyone around you is right. Just because someone else speaks loudly, or with authority, doesn’t mean we should follow. Nor should we allow others to fuel our own self-doubt.

Have faith in yourself and learn not to take the opinions of others as gospel. Keep your own views and your own mind. You have every right to your voice. Stand tall and be confident in who you are and what you know.

If you don't believe that you are already good enough, you should definitely read this article!

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Wrapping up 

You are capable of so much more. You have not reached your full potential. In fact, with a growth mindset, you will never reach your full potential. But the journey to seek this will bring life-changing fulfillment and learnings. Think of all the opportunities you may have missed due to a fixed mindset. Now, think of all the benefits a growth mindset can bring to your life. 

Have you changed from a fixed mindset to a more growth mindset? What inspired this growth? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Ali Hall

Writer

Kindness is my superpower. Dogs and nature are my oxygen. Psychology with Sports science graduate. Scottish born and bred. I’ve worked and traveled all over the world. Find me running long distances on the hills and trails.

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