Growth Mindset

Growth mindset describes a way of viewing challenges and setbacks. People who have a growth mindset believe that even if they struggle with certain skills, their abilities aren’t set in stone. They think that with work, their skills can improve over time.

People with the opposite belief – that abilities are what they are and won’t change have a fixed mindset. They think their skills won’t improve no matter how hard they try.

These are the key elements of a growth mindset:

1) Intelligence can be developed

A fixed mindset might say intelligence is static. A growth mindset knows it is not; rather you can grow your brain’s capacity to respond to complex problems. If at first you don’t succeed, it doesn’t mean that you don’t belong or you can’t learn. You’re strengthening your ability to do the work every time you face a challenge.

2) Embrace challenges

The only way to have the experiences that help you truly grow is to embrace challenges. Don’t take the easiest path. Take the one that will make you stronger and more prepared for the future.

3) Persist in the face of setbacks

Experiencing setbacks is like building a muscle. To physically grow a muscle, it must sustain micro-tears — essentially, damage — then it grows back stronger. You develop your muscles intellectually and emotionally, just as you do physically. Failures may be the experiences you learn from the most.

4) See effort as a path to mastery

Many people believe that if they have to work too hard, it’s a sign that they don’t belong. Those with a growth mindset recognize that working hard is how you get to success: hard work is the pathway, not a sign of a problem.

5) Learn from criticism

Many people feel withered by criticism. It feels like a failure. People with a growth mindset are exhilarated by criticism: it’s a chance to learn, grow and get better.

5 ½) Find inspiration in the success of others.

When you see someone else succeed, instead of comparing yourself negatively (“I’m not good enough”), use those who succeed as role models. Learn from their model to reach even higher levels of achievement.

Growth Mindset
Is Freedom
Fixed Mindset
Is Limiting
Finds inspiration in others’ successFeels threatened by the success of others
Knows that effort is required to build new skillsDoes what’s expected, but not more
Perseveres in the face of failuresGives up easily
Desires to learnAvoids challenges
Positive self-talkNegative self-talk
Builds abilitiesRelies on existing abilities