Do you believe that your intelligence and abilities are fixed, or that they can be developed through hard work and dedication? If you believe the former, you have a fixed mindset. If you believe the latter, you have a growth mindset.
When I was younger, throughout school, I believed that other people were just born with the skills or confidence that I didn’t have, and it held me back. I gave up when things became too difficult or there were barriers in my way.
I thought that perhaps I just wasn’t “that type of person”, whether that was being confident, academic, or athletic. This is a fixed mindset.
But what if I told you that there’s a better way to think about yourself and your potential? A way that can help you to overcome challenges, learn from mistakes, and achieve your goals?
It’s called a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. You can always improve and grow.
As soon as I started learning about psychology and the idea of a growth mindset, things changed for me. And not just academically, or how I did in school. It had a profound effect on how I saw myself in life more generally.
I started taking on more challenges, could better persevere in the face of setbacks, and saw mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures.
And this isn’t just my experience. There’s plenty of research to support the benefits of a growth mindset.
The concept of a growth mindset was introduced by Carol Dweck, who has conducted decades of research on how people’s mindsets affect their motivation, performance, and success.
She has found that people with a growth mindset are more likely to achieve their goals than people with a fixed mindset. For example, one study found that students who were taught that intelligence can be improved through effort (i.e., a growth mindset) were more likely to earn higher grades, enjoy their work, and persist in challenging courses than students with a fixed mindset .
Another study found that employees with a growth mindset were more likely to be promoted and earn higher salaries than employees with a fixed mindset .
How to develop a growth mindset
So, how do we develop a growth mindset? Well, it takes a bit of time and effort, but it is worth it. For me, it’s been one of the changes I’ve made that’s had the biggest impact on my life.
Here are some practical tips from Dweck’s research (and my experience!) that can help you develop a growth mindset:
- Learn from your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them and move on. Don’t dwell on your mistakes or beat yourself up about them.
- Celebrate your successes. When you achieve a goal, take the time to celebrate your success. This will help you to stay motivated and to keep moving forward.
- Embrace challenges. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Challenges are opportunities to learn and grow.
And, as you’re doing these things, try to separate your actions from your identity. Start to think about success and failure in terms of your effort and approach. If you fail, learn and adjust. Take some time to reflect and think of one thing you can do differently next time. If you succeed, celebrate the work you’ve put in to achieve that success. Reflect and think of one thing you did that contributed to your success, and how you might do more of that in the future.
For me, developing a growth mindset is one of the building blocks to achieving success in life – whatever that means to you. Believing that you can always improve and grow through dedication and hard work improves your resilience, learning, and ability to navigate some of the challenges that life throws at you.
If you are interested in learning more about growth mindset, I recommend reading ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck . It is a great book that will give you all the tools you need to start developing a growth mindset.
You can also subscribe to my blog, or YouTube or follow me on social media for more tips and advice on how to develop a growth mindset and achieve your goals. If you’re wanting to make positive changes straight away – check out my New Year’s Reset Course and give yourself a ‘reset’ whenever you like!
See you soon, Stephen
 Blackwell, L., Trzesniewski, K., & Dweck, C. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246-263.
 Heslin, P., & Keating, L. (2017). In learning mode? The role of mindsets in derailing and enabling experiential leadership development. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(3), 367-384.
 Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. Hachette UK.