Empower Yourself

How to develop a growth mindset

What is a growth mindset and how can you develop one?

Discover what it means to have a growth mindset, how they can help you, and the steps you can break away from a fixed mindset.

The way we think about ourselves and our abilities can have a significant impact on our performance, at work, during studies, and in everyday life. Yet not everyone takes the time to think about the way they think and may make assumptions about their skills that can be negative. So what is a growth mindset? And how can it help us achieve our goals?

Here, we explore the definition of a growth mindset, how it differs from a fixed mindset, and how you can work to develop a growth mindset. As well as giving some practical examples, we’ll also suggest some courses that can help you progress.

10 ways to develop a growth mindset:

1. Identify your own mindset

By considering how you currently approach challenges, either at work or in education, you can determine your current mindset. For example, you can ask yourself whether you say things like ‘I’m a natural people person’ or ‘I’ve learned to work well with people’? Or would you say, ‘she’s a natural leader’, or ‘she worked her way up to the leadership role’?

Asking such questions about your approach to the world can help you identify whether you’ve more of a fixed or growth mindset. Such awareness is the first step toward making changes, which could help you reimagine your career.

2. Look at your own improvements 

Think about something that you’re better at now than you were in the past? What did you previously find difficult? Why does it feel easier now? And how did you achieve such a change?

These thoughts can prompt you to think about the time and effort you’ve spent to improve in particular areas, the hallmarks of a growth mindset.

3. Review the success of others

Try to think about something that you’ve seen someone else do against the odds. Think about how they achieved their success and what this says about their ability to develop their capabilities.

4. Seek feedback

Whether you’ve been successful in a project or not, seeking feedback from others is a good way to develop a growth mindset. They may give you insight into where you’ve developed or what needs improvement. In turn, this can help you to set goals for improvement.

5. Harness the power of ‘yet’ 

The concept of ‘yet’ is one that Dr Dweck spoke about during a TEDx talk. Essentially, this part of a fixed mindset is about realising that there will be skills or subjects that you’re not good at yet. However, with work and perseverance, you can improve in these areas.

Developing a growth mindset is about realising that your weaknesses are strengths you haven’t necessarily developed yet.

6. Learn something new

Try a completely new activity and challenge yourself to learn something that you’re not already good at. You could start with learning a new languagepicking up an instrument, or understanding the basics of economics.

By getting used to getting out of your comfort zone, you can develop a growth mindset and be more open to learning new skills.

7. Make mistakes 

You’re not going to get everything right the first time of trying. Allow yourself to make errors and then learn from those missteps. Rather than thinking that mistakes equal ineptitude, think of them as part of the learning process.

Mistakes give you the chance to identify where you may have a weakness or lack of understanding – areas you can work hard to improve.

8. Be kind to yourself

Rather than scolding yourself for your errors, try and identify how you’d treat someone else in your situation. If someone was to fail at a task you know inside out, would you tell them they’re useless or encourage them to learn?

Being mindful can help you to improve your communication, relationships and emotional help. It can also help you identify thoughts that are linked to a fixed mindset and move away from them.

9. Look at examples 

If you’re striving to develop a growth mindset, it can help to look at those who already embody one. Whether it’s examples from experts such as Dr Dweck or through looking at people you already know, there are opportunities to learn from others. Examine what they do and how they approach challenges, and think about how you can apply similar tactics.

10. Set realistic goals

As we’ve explored already, there are many determinants of success. Personality, intelligence, circumstance and other factors can all contribute. However, by setting clear goals that provide a motivating challenge, you can work towards success.

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