Have you ever found yourself stuck in a rut, unable to move forward with your goals? Do you often feel like you need to meet your full potential? It could be that you need a growth mindset. A growth mindset can help you reach new heights of success personally and professionally. What exactly is a growth mindset, why does having one matter, and how do you cultivate it?
What is a growth mindset?
A growth mindset is a belief that success depends on effort and ability to learn rather than talent alone. It is an attitude of learning and striving to succeed no matter the challenge.
It is the belief that no matter what our current level of skill and knowledge may be, everyone can learn new things and develop more excellent capabilities if we strive towards achieving them.
With a growth mindset, it is about something other than whether we are ‘intelligent’ or ‘talented’ at something. Instead, it is about finding strategies and ways to push us to reach our goals by accepting mistakes and growing from them instead of seeing failure as an endpoint.
In the end, it is the development of such mental attributes that allows us to have true confidence in our abilities — and this, in turn, can open up far more possibilities than any single moment of success could.
Why is a growth mindset important?
A growth mindset is a belief that talent and intelligence are not fixed but can be developed through hard work and dedication. A growth mindset encourages resilience and allows us to initially take on challenges that may seem impossible.
Having a growth mindset so important because it pushes you to reach your full potential by trying new things and improving your skills over time.
Instead of seeing failure as an end, it becomes a learning experience that ultimately leads to success. This puts you in the optimal position to capitalize on chances and opportunities along the way.
Good examples of growth mindset include accepting constructive criticism without taking it personally, believing that our skills can be enhanced with practice and perseverance, and understanding that failure is an opportunity to learn.
Having a growth mindset means letting go of notions of failure or success as permanent conditions and embracing change by looking at how we can improve to move forward. Here are 21 examples of growth mindset:
1. Encouraging others to learn from their mistakes
Nothing worth doing is immune to the occasional mistakes. Even the most intelligent people often have off days or make mistakes in their journey.
That is why developing a growth mindset is so important — it encourages us to overestimate our capabilities and not be discouraged by mistakes but instead learn from them.
Rather than being quick to judge or criticize when something goes wrong, we can be supportive and inspiring of others learning from their mistakes and helping them see failure as a means of progress along their path.
An excellent place to start is by reflecting on your successes and failures and how you learned from them. Then, reframe mistakes as steps toward greater understanding rather than indicators of worthlessness or incompetence.
Remind them that often what seems like an end can create new growth opportunities — by looking at it differently, they can learn from it and move forward with more knowledge and insight than before.
2. Looking for answers beyond the obvious
When facing tricky situations that require a creative solution, one subtle yet effective action is to look for answers beyond the obvious.
Shifting away from snap judgments and fixed ways of thinking can sometimes reveal far more fruitful results.
By branching out and seeking alternate perspectives, we open ourselves up to discovering something even more significant than what we initially believe to be true.
Taking a step back to ask whether there is more to a situation than what your eyes see can unlock fabulous inspiration and offer solutions previously thought inconceivable.
An open mind will bring fresh perspective and insights that provide unexpected solutions which can result in lasting success.
Investigating the underlying purpose behind a task or challenge, why it needs to be achieved, what one hopes to learn from it, and how it ties into greater objectives all create a proactive learning environment that fosters positive development.
3. Asking thought-provoking questions
Asking “what if?” is a powerful question that opens up incredible possibilities while fostering a growth mindset.
It can unlock creative solutions to challenges or problems, allowing you to see the bigger picture, develop innovative responses, and ask what if? — develops creative thinking by examining every detail, building on others’ ideas, testing your assumptions and hypotheses, and reflecting on potential outcomes.
Asking, “how can I become more productive?” opens the door to many possible solutions and creates opportunities for a far more comprehensive outcome.
As you incorporate the habit of asking thought-provoking questions into your daily life — from tackling problems at work to personal relationships — you will discover extraordinary opportunities and develop new ways of looking at things.
4. Focusing on the process instead of the outcome
It is easy to feel discouraged by challenges, but you must reframe setbacks as incremental steps along the journey rather than failing and giving up.
To take on a growth mindset approach to setbacks, focus on the process instead of the outcome — it means appreciating incremental steps made towards goals and celebrating successes no matter how small.
Also, focusing on the process instead of the outcome during a setback can remind us that progress is not linear and failure can still be beneficial if we take away lessons from it.
So, instead of getting overwhelmed thinking about things you cannot control, focus on what is achievable in the present moment — be patient with what lies ahead.
It is worth remembering that setbacks are a normal part of the journey. Acknowledging our strengths usually get us close to succeeding in our endeavors, even if we initially fail. Adopting this mindset into your life will surely bring many rewards.
5. Believing that good results come from dedication
A great example of a growth mindset in action is someone who believes that with dedication and hard work, good results can come even if they do not have natural talent.
Talent is only a part of reaching their ambitions; the rest comes from dedication, perseverance, and hard work. You have to put in the effort to work, no matter how hard it is, and take on challenges with the attitude that success can be achieved even if it is not easy.
Of course, overcoming a challenge and achieving success can be incredibly rewarding. A growth mindset gives you the belief that desired results are possible and encourages meaningful effort rather than simply giving up.
6. Seeking negative feedback to improve performance
Many of us get terrified whenever someone mentions the word feedback because it usually indicates something negative. We tend to avoid it because we do not want to hear things like “that’s wrong” or “can you rectify what you did?”
It is easy to take criticism as an insult and react negatively. Yes, some criticism can be harsh — but most criticism can be a wake-up call to shift your mindset to a positive one.
So, instead of shrugging off criticism as a personal attack, approach it with an open mind, and you will see your growth skyrocket.
Having a growth mindset encourages us to seek and be open to constructive feedback to understand our strengths and weaknesses better. Instead of shying away from it, embrace negative feedback as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Read also: 15 Examples of Commitments
7. Believing that effort is what makes us smarter
A growth mindset can be extremely helpful in making us restless in searching for better things than we have. In contrast to a fixed mindset — believing that we have static and unchanging characteristics — a growth mindset allows us to focus on our efforts, develop problem-solving skills, and find comfort in pushing our boundaries.
Effort becomes the critical factor contributing to success, instead of our natural talents or lack thereof. This opens up new possibilities as we learn that success and failure can help us grow if we accept them as part of the process.
In summary, a growth mindset encourages trying something new even if it feels uncomfortable, trusting that any challenges you find will still contribute towards success.
8. Moving away from the hero mentality
Shift away from selfish behaviors in which you try to take all the credit for success. A hero mentality may seem attractive, but it can be counter-productive and ultimately hold you back.
There can be no denying the immense reward when working together towards a shared goal — with each team member holding up their end, giving just as much devotion and effort as everyone else to maximize the team’s potential.
A growth mindset recognizes that collaboration and linking up with others is necessary to move towards your goals faster and more efficiently.
There is strength in combining diverse ideas and resources to solve problems quickly and create opportunities for broader success.
9. Guiding new employees to grow relationships
Starting a new job can be equally exciting and intimidating. Yes, it is an opportunity to start fresh, learn new things and grow your relationships with others. But most new employees come with vast experience and skills you do not have but can tap into for your benefit.
You and the new employee can thrive by being open to and helpful rather than seeing them as a threat or competition. A great example of this is something as simple as offering guidance to new employees when they join the team.
Instead of treating them as just another burden, take on the challenge to teach them something new and use their skillset for your benefit.
Not only does this expose you to a fresh perspective and potentially valuable ideas, but it also helps foster lasting relationships. A growth mindset approach with them will add value to you in many ways.
10. Taking the lead on a challenging project
A growth mindset enables you to take the lead on a challenging project and transform it into an opportunity. When presented with something difficult and outside of your comfort zone, you will view it as a learning experience rather than something which will overwhelm you.
You will be excited by the challenge, taking the initiative to tackle it head-on and develop creative solutions for progress.
With a growth mindset, failure is an essential part of development as opposed to something embarrassing — it just means that you have not found the right approach or solution yet, so you keep changing and adapting until you are successful.
It is an opportunity to approach problems from new angles. As an example, at work, someone with a growth mindset may take the lead on a challenging project because they see it as an opportunity to learn and challenge themselves — rather than shying away from potential mistakes,
11. Seeing asking for help as a sign of strength
If you are anything like most people, you probably see asking for help as admitting defeat. After all, why would you need assistance if you could do everything on your own?
However, only some people can try to do everything alone, and many fail. And there is no shame in admitting that you need help to reach your goals.
On the contrary, seeking help is a sign of strength. It demonstrates your willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. So next time you hesitate to ask for help, remember that it is not a sign of weakness — it is a sign of strength!
People with a growth mindset are always looking for ways to improve, and they know that sometimes the best way to do that is to ask for assistance.
12. Changing your negative thoughts to positive ones
There is always debate about whether people are born with a natural talent. People with a growth mindset know it does not matter where you start.
What matters is how you finish. They know that intelligence and talent are not fixed traits — (fixed mindset, the belief that intelligence and ability are static and cannot be changed).
The good news is we can all choose which mindset we want to have. If you find yourself stuck in a negative thought pattern, try replacing those thoughts with more positive ones.
For example, Instead of “I’m not good at this,” try thinking, “I’m still learning, and I will become better at it with practice.” “I give up” turns into “I’ll keep trying until I work it out.”
Every time you catch yourself thinking of something negative, turn it into a positive affirmation — soon, it will become second nature. You can succeed at anything if you are willing to do the work.
If you mess up, there is always room for improvement — no one is perfect. This means knowing that you can be successful even if you do not always succeed.
13. Pursuing opportunities with no immediate benefits
Most people have a fixed mindset, meaning they cannot visualize the future and become hesitant to pursue opportunities that may not offer immediate benefits. They tend to believe that their present skills and talents determine how far they can go.
On the other hand, those with a growth mindset understand that their current abilities do not limit their future. They constantly strive to pursue opportunities even if they do not have immediate benefits.
This mindset allows them to take risks, experiment with new ideas, and keep growing. Most importantly, it helps them to visualize what the future might look like and focus on achieving their long-term goals.
14. Learning new skills voluntarily
The moment you stop learning in your career is the moment your professional growth stagnates. For instance, let us say you work at a technology company.
The ever-changing landscape of technology means that you must continuously learn new skills to keep up with the latest trends.
Otherwise, your knowledge will fall behind and be less effective. Most people wonder how they can make themselves more “marketable” in the working world.
New technologies and processes are being developed every day, rendering yesterday’s skills obsolete. The answer is simpler than you might think — continue to learn without being requested to do so.
You should not wait for someone to tell you to learn something — it should be your hobby and passion. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that.
You can take online courses, attend conferences and seminars, read books and articles, and network with other professionals. The world of work is changing at an ever-increasing speed, so be prepared to keep learning and adapting.
Read also: 18 Examples of Exceeding Expectations
15. Changing approach when it isn’t working
We get caught up in the day-to-day grind and need to remember that our approach to work can significantly impact our success. You need to keep moving forward. There is no point in holding on to doing things just because they are comfortable.
Comfort is the enemy of progress. When something is not working, you do not blame other people or external factors — that will only hold you back. Just change your approach — especially when it is something you have control over.
If you do not see results, it is time to take a step back and reassess the situation. There is always room for growth, so instead of beating yourself up over your shortcomings, focus on what you can change to see better results.
16. Breaking through your fears
Fear keeps us from going after our dreams or taking that next big step. Fear of failure, unknown, success, or even fear of everything. So, what exactly is behind this fear? The answer may lie in our mindset.
We have a fixed mindset when we believe everything in life is predetermined and external factors beyond our control determine our success or failure.
As such, we often feel discouraged from taking risks or trying something new because we are afraid to fail or even learn something that could change who we are.
On the other hand, a growth mindset encourages us to step out of our comfort zone and push boundaries because whatever mistakes we make can lead to incredible opportunities.
So, instead of worrying, “What if I get it wrong”, start thinking about how you can achieve success through trial and error instead. Do not let fear be an obstacle between you and the success you seek.
17. Setting goals that stretch you
To progress in your personal and professional life involves setting goals that stretch beyond what you think is possible — the challenge here is that you are likely to come up against your inner critic, who doubts whether you can achieve your goals’ lofty ambitions.
But with a growth attitude, you know that hard work and focus can help you reach new heights and open doors to more opportunities.
You become an agent of your success, empowered with the knowledge that perseverance will lead you down the right path no matter how tough it gets.
Showing dedication to a larger goal gives you greater motivation to get where you want to be — you need courage, determination, and commitment to succeed.
18. Empathizing with those who fail
Why should we empathize with someone who fails? Well, having a growth mindset means that we do not view failure as shameful — instead, we see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
The beauty of a growth mindset is that it encourages us to embrace challenges and failures as positive learning experiences, which can help us improve over time.
It also acknowledges that everyone makes mistakes and has bad days, so tolerance and understanding are critical in facing failure.
So rather than writing off those who fail, we should nurture their potential while helping them identify areas for improvement.
19. Hanging out with smarter people
Spending time with people who challenge your thinking allows you to expand your horizons, be more creative, and generate new ideas that can take your professional endeavors to the next level.
What is more, when surrounded by people who are more intelligent than you, it encourages you to strive for higher standards.
Being exposed to rigorous standards is one of the advantages of hanging out with this type of people — whereas if you are constantly surrounded by those not striving for excellence, your goals will stagnate.
Not only do they drag down your morale and motivation, but their thinking patterns could become yours, which will not help expand your knowledge or career trajectory.
To reach the pinnacle in any job, find the individuals ahead of you with the experience and wisdom to guide and teach you — that is where a growth mindset comes into play.
Growth comes from pushing those boundaries and challenging yourself — which happens naturally among high-performing people.
Read more: 15 Examples of Taking Ownership
20. Stopping over-thinking things
Stop overthinking and perfectionism. Why? Because these patterns of behavior can be incredibly debilitating, causing us to get stuck in the small details rather than move on toward our larger goals.
Perfectionism, in particular, can be both restrictive and exhausting — it is often based on the assumption that there’s only one achievable outcome or total success. This can distort our view of reality and stop us from taking risks and experiencing new things.
Growth requires risk-taking — if we want to continue growing professionally, it pays to address any areas where overthinking or perfectionism could get in the way.
21. Conquering imposter syndrome for good
Imposter syndrome is known as feeling inadequate or undeserving of success despite evidence of accomplishment.
It is common among high-achieving individuals and can hold people back from reaching their full potential by convincing them they need to gain the skills, knowledge, or experience to succeed.
Resisting thought patterns such as self-doubt, fear of failure, and unfavorable comparisons to others can help combat imposter syndrome.
Taking ownership of your successes and reflecting on what did not go so well are two critical steps toward developing a helpful mindset — it is a journey without a destination but one that promises ongoing rewards.
A growth mindset is essential for anyone who wants to grow professionally or personally. It is about embracing failure as part of your journey instead of seeing it as something negative or wrong about yourself. With this mindset, you will be more likely to take risks which may lead to tremendous success.
In addition, it gives you greater confidence in your abilities and fosters creativity by allowing you to look at problems from different angles and explore new solutions.