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How to develop a growth mindset?

by Elizabeth Harmon

Do you believe that your character and intelligence levels are inherent and will stay with you, unchanging, throughout the rest of your life? Or, do you believe that your skills, views and level of creativity can continuously evolve throughout life, through hard work, effort and different experiences? If you agree with the first option, then you have a ‘fixed mindset’. However, if you agree with the second option, you have what Dr Carol Dweck coined as a ‘growth mindset’.

In this article, we take a closer look at what a growth mindset is, explain why it’s important and outline some steps you can follow to help develop your own growth mindset.

What is a growth mindset?

If you have a ‘growth mindset’, you believe you have the potential to continuously develop and improve your abilities. You’ll try something new and step out of your comfort zone, even if that means potentially failing at first. You’ll keep trying and learn from each experience in order to move closer towards achieving your goals.

In comparison, if you have a ‘fixed mindset’, you will often believe you have limitations to your abilities. This subsequently creates barriers in your life and holds you back from achieving your full potential.

Why is a growth mindset important?

Having a growth mindset can certainly provide several benefits.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • By understanding the simple fact that you can grow, you can have a sense of purpose and feel motivated to put in the extra time and effort needed to get you to where you want to be. This can help you achieve even more than you could with a fixed mindset.
  • With a fixed mindset, you may find yourself avoiding challenges, for fear of failure. With a growth mindset, you are more likely to embrace challenges, seek feedback and learn from any mistakes. This broader range of experiences can help you to learn more and create a more fulfilled life.
  • The thought of failure can make you stressed and failure itself can leave you feeling disappointed and deflated. With a growth mindset, however, because you see failure differently, you are likely to have higher self-esteem.
  • Employers are increasingly looking for candidates who are actively seeking ways to improve, develop their skills and strive for more. Having a growth mindset can therefore really help you develop your career or stand out from other candidates.

4 effective ways to develop a growth mindset

The good news is, our mindsets are learnt and so it is possible to change them. This means that if you currently have a fixed mindset, it is possible to cultivate a growth mindset instead. Here are some small steps you can take to get started:

  1. Change your beliefs :Your mindset stems from your beliefs and so if you currently have a fixed mindset, it’s time to change your beliefs. Believe that you are in control of your ability and that your talent and skills can be developed over time through persistence.
  2. Think differently about failure: Instead of seeing failure as a negative, see it as an opportunity to learn. Review what happened, ask for feedback (even if it’s constructive criticism) and consider how you could do things differently in the future. By seeing it as a learning curve instead of a setback, you’ll be more confident trying new experiences in the future too, rather than shying away from them for fear of performing badly.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone: Whilst you may feel safe inside your comfort zone, you’ll find it hard to grow there. Instead, take on a challenge that will require you to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. When you hear that voice inside your head saying that you can’t do it, get your growth mindset to kick in, to tell you that you can.
  4. Don’t dismiss your abilities: Have you ever said that you can’t do something, whether that’s singing, drawing, running, maths or something else? These comments stem from having a fixed mindset. Instead of saying you can’t do something though, take the time to work on and develop your existing abilities. Everything requires time, effort and practice.

Read our previous article to discover even more effective ways to help develop a growth mindset.

Having a growth mindset is all about believing you can achieve something and taking ownership of your development. It’s about knowing there are no limits to your abilities if you work hard and constantly seek out opportunities to learn. Browse our selection of flexible online courses now and take your first step towards developing a stronger growth mindset.

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