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What is a “Growth Mindset” and How to Develop One?



. 5 min read

The focus of several TED Talks, speeches and seminars, the Growth Mindset has become increasingly popular in recent years. But what is it truly? And how does it help?

Before we dive into that, let’s rewind and visit Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford University from several years ago when she first spoke about the power of mindset.

After noticing how a few students reacted differently to failure and setbacks, Dr Carol and her team conducted years of research on thousands of students and children – ultimately coining the term “growth mindset”. 

So here’s what a growth mindset is: it thrives on challenge. It involves believing in your ability to become better at something through effort and hard work. You begin to see obstacles as opportunities and failures as learnings. People with a growth mindset believe that their innate qualities such as skills, intelligence and talents can always be further developed – implying that no matter what your initial interests and strengths are, everyone can change and grow through learning and experience. Simply put, they rely on their hard work and not luck or chance to take them far in life.


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Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

The term fixed mindset (also coined by Dr.Dweck) means the opposite of a growth mindset. A person with a fixed mindset believes that their abilities, personality traits and intelligence are qualities they are born with and cannot change. Evidently, a fixed mindset can prevent you from taking a step forward. It can be debilitating and cause you to give up easily when the going gets tough.

The Science Behind Growth Mindset

Dr Dweck’s research isn’t the only study conducted in this field. Recent advances in neuroscience on brain plasticity, aka the ability of our brain to adapt and change with experience, have also established a connection between mindset and achievements. Moreover, research shows that a mindset shift from fixed to growth is very much possible. And when done so can lead to increased motivation and achievement!


Benefits Of A Growth Mindset

Now that we know the meaning of growth mindset, let’s take a look at how adopting one can impact your life:

  • Enhances your self-esteem
  • Enables you to learn new skills
  • Improves your relationships
  • Improves chances of success at work
  • Allows you to handle changes better
  • Makes you seek out feedback
  • Reduces stress
  • Makes your more responsible for your own life


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How To Achieve A Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset is essential for success. If you’re looking for ways to bring about a mindset shift and work towards improving your intelligence and personality traits, the below growth mindset exercises are just for you. 


Let’s explore the different ways to develop the right mindset for all-over development and improvement.

  1. View challenges as opportunities

    Once you start seeing challenges as opportunities for self-improvement – there’s no looking back. Got a challenging task for the day? Try analysing what you can learn from it (even if you fail) and write down that learning. That’ll enable you to start viewing the challenge as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

  2. Stop seeking approval from others

    Do you find yourself worrying about other people’s opinions of you? Well, it could be hindering you from developing your growth mindset! We often compare ourselves to our peers, try to appear perfect or even fret over how we look to others. Sadly, these are only a waste of our precious time and energy. Instead, you can try focusing on yourself, your development and growth and don’t worry if others notice your progress. Rely on self-acceptance and approval; it’ll make you more confident in the long run!

  3. Appreciate the journey

    When you focus on results and worry if “it was good enough?”, that is your brain indulging in a fixed mindset. Whether it’s at school, work or otherwise, learn to appreciate the little things you experience in the process, such as overcoming a problem, solving a puzzle or making a friend. You’ll soon recognise how these little learning moments are far more valuable and enjoyable than an outcome.

  4. Train your inner voice

    It’s also important to listen to your inner dialogue and take note of the words you’re using. If you’re afraid of trying new things, speak back to your inner voice with a new mindset. Tell yourself it’s okay if you don’t succeed and that it’s more important to try. Here’s a little trick: use the word “yet”. Catch yourself thinking, “I’m not very good at this”? Just add the word yet: “I’m not very good at this yet”.

  5. Be happy for others

    Being happy about other people’s success can help you grow too. Celebrate with them, draw inspiration from them and try to build honest, good relationships with them. In fact, you may even get curious about what made them successful! People with a growth mindset often focus on building deep, solid connections while understanding others’ actions and how they approach challenges.

  6. Jot down your goals

    Listing your goals helps you focus on your challenges and tasks, but that’s not all. Once you achieve a goal, it pushes you to prep for the next one. Those with a growth mindset create clear, realistic goals and allow themselves enough time to achieve them well.

  7. Replace “failing” with “learning”:

    Failing is just a way of learning. Nothing/nobody is entirely perfect, and there’s always plenty of room for improvement. Even the greatest athletes and artists started as persons with little talent or expertise. So let go of that fear of failure, embrace growth opportunities, and work hard to achieve what you set your heart to!

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  8. Reflect daily

    In addition to your successes, carve out time in your daily schedule to reflect on the areas where you didn’t do as well. This will help you to recognise what you could have done differently. Proactively seeking out constructive feedback is also a way to learn from mistakes and develop skills that will help you in the long run.

  9. Take risks

    The fear of appearing silly or stupid in front of others can hold us back. The key is not to take yourself too seriously. Allow yourself to goof up, laugh over it and at yourself and own your attitude. Take risks – especially when someone’s watching!

  10. Take action

    And lastly, take action. You must follow through on your growth mindset voice and do the required work. After all, the brain is like a muscle that needs to be worked out just like your body! You may not succeed every time – but don’t be disheartened – that is completely okay. Continue to put yourself out there with your efforts and work, and you’ll soon cultivate the growth mindset you desire.


While these exercises may sound simple in theory, we do acknowledge that they’re easier said than done. Developing a growth mindset is a process – one that takes time – but with small steps, you must know that there’s nothing that you can’t achieve!

Mindset And Children

As kids, we often seek external validation. It could be by aiming to get consistent A+ on tests or being rewarded for good behavior. The bad news is each moment makes us more dependent on this validation we receive. 

So, how do we change this? The trick is to praise children wisely and not their intelligence or talent. Practice mindset activities with them, especially those that help with a growth mindset for kids. Reward them for their efforts, strategies, focus, perseverance and improvement. Because when students have a growth mindset, they tend to take on more challenges and learn from them, thus, leading to increased achievements, abilities and resilience.

The Bottom Line

From studies and career to any other aspect of life, gaining a growth mindset allows you to focus on improvement, work harder, get smarter and overcome obstacles. Remember that it may not guarantee success, but it does improve your abilities and chances of success while giving you a rich, fulfilling life. After all, those who accomplish the most are ones with determination and discipline, not just natural talent. 

We hope this article has inspired you to work towards developing a growth mindset and succeed in any challenge that comes your way!

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