How to Get a Growth Mindset – There are different types of mindsets, which can either help or hurt your well-being. A growth mindset is a belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. It offers more freedom to reach your full potential and allows you to stay aligned with your values instead of being held back by limiting beliefs.
With a growth mindset, we can break through the state of being stuck in one place and achieve the long-term goals we desire in all aspects of our lives. So how does one develop it? Below are a couple of ways.
How to Get a Growth Mindset
1. Believe in yourself
The first step towards having a growth mindset is believing in yourself. The moment you do, your eyes are opened to a whole new world of possibilities. But as simple as this might seem, a lot of people still struggle with this. If you’re having a hard time believing in yourself, chances are you’re focusing on the mistakes you might have made in the past.
The Association for Psychological Science studied the brain activity of participants when they made mistakes. They observed the reaction when the participants made a mistake and when they were able to fix it. They found that those who believed they could learn from their mistakes improved their performance on tasks they completed after they made an error. And this is known as the growth mindset, which is part of believing in yourself.
When you know that you can learn something from mistakes you’re much more willing to make them. So you must believe that you can do it. Whatever it is you seek to change or achieve, you have to remind yourself that it’s attainable. It might take a lot of work to convince yourself of this, but by reminding yourself of the payoff, which is growth and accomplishment, you’ll without a doubt be able to do it. In predicting success, it doesn’t matter whether someone is gifted or not. What matters is a person’s belief that they can succeed and prevail.
2. Don’t blame others for your circumstances or shortcomings
We sometimes like to blame others for the things that go wrong in our lives. Everyone does it. But that doesn’t mean you should too. The reason is, no good ever comes from it. Don’t act as if you’re a victim because you aren’t. Blaming others takes you nowhere. By complaining about your situation or blaming someone else for it, you’re not taking accountability for your situation, you’re making someone else accountable. The fact is you can’t shift responsibility for your own life to someone else.
By doing so, you’re only misleading yourself and preventing yourself from moving forward. If you don’t get the results you want or expected, ask yourself what you’ve done to get the results you were seeking. Then ask yourself what you can change and get a much better outcome. You and only you are responsible for your future and for making the most out of your talents and abilities. So whenever you find yourself blaming someone or something, take a step back, own up to it, pick the lesson from the situation and move on.
3. Be curious
Someone who’s seeking change has to be curious. Forget for a second what you know and marvel at all the things you don’t know. Get used to the feeling. Not knowing shouldn’t make you feel shameful or fearful, but rather excited. Be prepared to ask follow-up questions and seek more information when an opportunity presents itself. And if you already think you’re curious, you need to become even more curious about everything. Because curiosity is the best teacher for us all.
Whenever you’re faced with difficulty in life, curiosity will take you out of it. Successful people are always curious, and they’re constantly looking for new ways to succeed. Albeit Einstein said that he had no special talent, but that he was only passionately curious. Curiosity grants you a growth mindset because it allows you to learn new things and grow every day. The moment you choose to be curious about the things going around you, that’s when you’ll begin to find the answers that most people struggle to find.
4. Allow yourself to fail
Failure is something we try so hard to avoid but as disappointing and uncomfortable as it may be, it’s essential that you try and fail, and try and fail again. Every failure you encounter is yet another stepping stone on the path to success. A lot of people fail at first, but always continue to learn and grow and become very successful. The fear of failing is so deeply rooted in human psychology that we sometimes neglect our careers, relationships, hobbies, and dreams because of it. Although some can go after what they want after constantly facing failure and rejection, not all of us can have critique thrown at us. It’s often scary, difficult, and even painful to put ourselves out there.
But do not despair for there’s a way to embrace the process, the feelings, and to overcome the fear of failure simply by using the power of cognitive psychology. Some say that the way we handle failure is more important than how we handle success. Failure is inevitable for all of us, and our attitude about that failure is what determines whether we’ll fall hard or get back up. Success is often attributed to hard work, but in truth, the mindset is what makes all the difference. Carol Dweck, an American Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, known for her work on mindset said that having a growth mindset is what enables us to see failure as an opportunity and not allow it to stop us on our journey to success.
Those with a growth mindset believe that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. Whenever someone believes they can be smarter or do better, they realize that their effort does affect their success, so they put in more time, which leads to greater achievement. People with growth mindsets allow challenges to make them stronger and find an opportunity to grow through failure.
5. Leave your comfort zone
The comfort zone is a place of refuge, somewhere to be free from challenges, for many of us. But this simply translates to being free from growth. But for one to grow, they need to push themselves. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. It can make you anxious knowing there isn’t a clear and direct roadmap of previous experiences from which you can refer to.
But if you hold on long enough, you step into the zone of learning, where you gain new skills and deal with challenges the best way possible. And before you know it, a new comfort zone is created, where you expand your ability to reach even greater heights. And you can safely say you’ve reached the zone of growth. Leaving the comfort zone allows you to develop a growth mindset. While the fixed mindset traps us with the fear of failure, a growth mindset makes the impossible seem possible. It encourages us to take healthy risks and learn, which leads to positive outcomes throughout life.
6. Don’t put too much emphasis on results
Results are indeed important, but you shouldn’t forget to reward yourself for the effort you put in. Well-earned self-praise for a courageous attempt can sustain you over the long haul. It’s easy to think that one needs to focus on results and use them to measure progress to attain success. However, such a mentality is far from optimal.
There is more to success than just looking at results without understanding that it all comes down to how consistent you are and the process involved in getting the job done. When you focus more of your attention and energy on the process or techniques involved rather than the results, you realize that you learn faster, are more successful, and are even happier with the outcome. All in all, you gain more when you focus on the process instead of the results.
7. Pay attention to your own words
There are tons of reasons why sticking to good habits or developing new skills can be hard. But usually, the biggest challenge is situated between your ears. The mind is a very powerful thing, and the stories you tell yourself and the things you believe to be true about yourself can either prevent change or create room for new skills to bloom. There seems to be a connection between what we believe and our behavior.
So people who have a growth mindset are more likely to maximize their potential. Instead of ignoring criticism they learn from it, rather than avoid challenges they overcome, and find inspiration in the success of others rather than feel threatened.
To build a growth mindset, replace the negative thoughts with more positive ones. Replace hate with compassion. Judgment with acceptance. If you’re constantly disrespecting yourself or lowering your ethical standards, the result of your decisions and their consequences will reflect that.
Start paying attention to the words you say about yourself, even those that you only think about. If your words are dark or negative, the outcome just might be the same. So always watch yourself. Listen to what you say and think.
8. Stop seeking other people’s approval
Trying to please other people means seeking approval from outside sources. Whenever we reach for something from the outside world that we should be giving ourselves, we’re only setting ourselves up for disappointment. We set out to live a life that fits with other people’s expectations of us only to seek their approval.
Little do we know that approval is obtained at the expense of knowing who we are and what we want. We miss out on opportunities to learn how to approve of ourselves, even if others don’t. That’s why you need to cultivate self-acceptance and self-approval. Learn to trust yourself. Seeking approval from others only prevents you from having a growth mindset. Remember you’re the only person who will be there for you throughout your life, so if you look at it you are the only person you need to impress.
9. Be realistic
It’s easy to think that you can accomplish anything. That the things you hope for can be achieved overnight. But in the world we live in, we sometimes forget to be realistic. It takes a lot of time to learn a new skill like learning to play an instrument or learning a new language, or how to become a better doctor or lawyer. Keeping this in mind can help you cultivate a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset are aware that once one goal is down, they have others lined up to pursue. Create clear, realistic goals based on your passion and purpose. And be sure to give yourself enough time to conquer them thoroughly.
10. Learn from the mistakes of others
If you can learn from people’s mistakes, then you just might be able to make a few of them. At times this helps lessen the fear of trying something new which is a key aspect of building a growth mindset. It’s been said that you learn more from your mistakes than successes. However, since no one has the time to make all the mistakes on their own, you should learn from the mistakes of others too.
When a friend, family member, colleague, or anyone else gets something wrong, take time to think about the lesson you can get from it. A growth mindset means embracing challenges, being persistent in the face of setbacks, taking responsibility for your words and actions, and acknowledging that effort is the path toward mastery. It’s basically why practice makes perfect. By choosing to make the extra effort to build a growth mindset, you increase the likelihood of getting the results you’re looking for and living the life you want to live.