5 Ways to Cultivate the Growth Mindset

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
– Epictetus

After decades of studies, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck discovered the power of mindset as described in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

According to her, when it comes to beliefs about our intelligence or learning, we either have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

For example, students with a poor grade believe that they have a poor gene and predetermined low intelligence.

They believe they’re stuck with it for life.

Therefore, they don’t believe that their grade can improve, showing that they have a fixed mindset.

Students with a growth mindset believe that they can improve their grade by putting in more effort.

They value learning.

They believe in perseverance and resilience to better themselves.

Although her studies focused on students, the same idea applies to all our endeavours after school as our mindset determines how we view the world, our own abilities and how we act in adversities of life.

Essentially, this is what Epictetus’ “how you react to it matters.” means.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you’re stuck with an inborn quality.

You see limitations as your permanent marker.

You don’t invest in learning and growing as you don’t believe in improvement.

This mindset ultimately inhibits success in life.

With a growth mindset, you believe there’s room to grow. You continue to learn, adapt and expand.

You don’t let one bad relationship experience be the end of your love life, nor do you let one business failure stop you from starting another.

You see possibilities and opportunities. 

One of the most valuable traits in life is the ability to overcome adversities since no one can escape from life’s randomness and suffering whether it’s a relationship breakdown, financial disaster, job loss, illness or loss of a loved one.

A growth mindset is essential because it facilitates the inner drive and determination to bounce back in any situation and enables us to succeed in life.

Below are 5 ways to cultivate the growth mindset.

1. Recognise Your Effort

Since you’re reading this, you’re fully aware of the importance of personal development and want to change some area of your life.

You’re looking for ideas to do so. You’re making an ongoing effort in continuous development.

Acknowledge your effort and determination and pat yourself on the back.

Your relentless effort is a testimony of having a growth mindset.

2. Recognise Your Goals

You may not be where you want to be right now.

But you’re working hard towards your goals.

You do so because you believe in yourself and the value of a work ethic.

You understand with hard work you can achieve your goals.

Keep reminding yourself of your goals, how far you’ve come and how far you can go.

3. Use a Positive Narrative

Cultivate the growth mindset by avoiding negative talk and instead using a more positive tone of voice.

Not only in your internal narrative but also with others.

Notice the positive changes within you and how it makes you feel and others around you.

Acknowledge its positive effect and maintain it. You’ll continue to cultivate the growth mindset.

4. Recognise the Benefits of Collaboration

Seek others in your field for an opportunity to collaborate.

When you work with others, your knowledge expands through sharing.

You learn to work together, challenge each other, encourage each other and become more responsible.

Through mutually beneficial interactions, you continue to grow and flourish, strengthening the growth mindset.

5. Recognise Setbacks as Opportunities

Your determination, grit and resilience are gifts from the hardships you had in the past.

They’re your armour against any setbacks ahead of you.

Be excited about new experiences coming your way, abilities to solve problems, opportunities to grow further and test your new limit to overcome challenges.

You cultivate growth mindset as you recognise setbacks as opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is possible.

It begins with the belief that it’s possible to cultivate the growth mindset.

And implement simple things mentioned above: value your effort, your goals, your positive narrative, the collaboration with others and your setbacks as opportunities.

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