Let’s be specific: cultivating a growth mindset means that you push yourself wayoutside your comfort zone, challenge your beliefs on what you can and cannot (or “should not”) do, and reprogram your mind so that you can develop your core qualities and skills through deliberate and continuous efforts.
The biggest benefit of having a growth mindset?
It’s incredibly empowering and can make you feel limitless!
Is it possible to do?
Having a growth mindset is not something abstract. It’s not for the chosen few. It’s not even related to your age, your social status, or your level of income. But it can definitely impact how old or young you feel, which role you have in your community, and even which level of income you can earn.
And it doesn’t stop there – it can affect your attitude, your confidence, and your levels of happiness.
That’s why cultivating a growth mindset is a worthwhile investment of your time.
If you want to get proactive about it, here are a few tips on where to start:
Tip #1. Learn something new every day.
It can be anything that’s outside your current school curriculum or beyond a particular interest you’re already familiar with. Maybe this month you’ll spend a few evenings watching documentaries on how the Roman Empire was built or what were the biggest achievements of the Renaissance period. Or maybe you’ll want to research something more practical and useful in your daily life, such as which foods can keep you healthy, which tips and shortcuts can save you time, what kinds of habits can help you increase the quality of your life, or which skills you can develop to provide value not just to you but also to your community.
Tip #2. Be adventurous when it comes to absorbing new things.
Why should you limit your learning experience? Just because it’s not taught in school or your friends or family are not interested in pursuing it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time learning something that’s of interest to you. There are many alternatives to how you can learn something new. You can go to the library and pick up books on a topic that you find intriguing. You can take an online class in the evening, or watch free tutorials on YouTube on how to develop a skill you think would be empowering to you. Or, you can ask an expert or someone highly knowledgeable to give you advice on doing something better.
Tip #3. Surround yourself with “growth mindset” people.
Did you hear of the quote, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”? You may not even be aware of how much those closest to you (which could be family, friends, your partner) can impact your mood, your attitude, your belief system, and even what you perceive to be your strengths or weaknesses? Growth mindset people are easy to spot: they are the ones with a can-do attitude, they exhibit positive and optimistic behavior, and they work hard every day on getting better at something. Conversely, fixed mindset people tend to be constantly negative, they like to criticize and point out what they or others are lacking in, and they may spend too much time talking about other people and not enough time working on bettering themselves.
Tip #4. Change your definition of success.
You may think being successful means that things come easy to you, whether it’s being a straight A student or a swimming champion. The downside to that way of thinking is that you get too comfortable in doing something well with little effort. Instead of thinking that success is being the best, start thinking of success as doing your best. This means you switch your focus from staying in the comfort zone to coming up with ways to improve the way you do your work and manage your personal development. It could means anything from planning a difficult task ahead of time so you can manage it better to waking up 30 minutes earlier so you can work on a habit that can improve your life in some way.
Tip #5. Challenge your perception of failure.
One of the biggest disadvantages to having a fixed mindset is that if you consider yourself successful at something, the first time you encounter a challenging situation in your personal of professional life can make you feel paralyzed and even make you want to give up completely on something. That’s because you don’t have a coping mechanism to fall back on. And that’s why many people feel that if they can’t be the best at something, they shouldn’t even continue doing it. That’s not failure! Instead of seeing your failures as confirmation of your inability to do something, you can start training your brain to see failure as merely a setback. The benefit? This way of thinking can be motivating, informative, and it can even build character. For example, if you fail an exam, don’t automatically think it’s the end of the world. Be honest with yourself how you may have contributed to it, then think of specific ways to make changes so that you do better next time.
Tip #6. Don’t get lazy.
Another drawback to having a fixed mindset is doing something well and then just slipping into complacency. You sit back, take it easy, and expect things to go smoothly from now on. How about making sure it stays that way? For example, if you’ve successfully passed your exams, you don’t have to spend your entire vacation watching TV or gaming; instead, you can make a plan to improve a skill that is important to your personal development, and then work on it for 30 minutes a day. If you finished a big project at work, you don’t have to chitchat with co-workers for hours while the boss is in meetings or taking the day off; you can look for something else that’s relevant to your professional development, such as adding relevant skills to your LinkedIn profile or spending time learning about a new app or tool that can help you do your job more efficiently.
Tip #7. Be open-minded whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Imagine you meet someone who tells you about a personal project they’re working on. Maybe they’re training for a marathon and they’re doing strength training and changing their diet. Or maybe they’re taking a business course so they can learn how to start a side business doing something they’ve always wanted to do. Instead of feeling envious about their pursuits or thinking that you couldn’t possibly do anything similar, you could take a cue from them and spend some time brainstorming an idea or two. Which project can you start or which skill can you work on that can improve the quality of your life? Instead of dismissing new endeavors with a shrug, you can start asking a simple question: “What if…?” For example, what if you conquer something important that you thought you’d never be able to do when you were younger? What if you change your lifestyle (eat more healthy, get strong, read more books, or adopt a pet from an animal shelter) and this opens new doors that will take your life in a different direction? What if feeling better about something you’re doing differently also makes you feel limitless? When you’re open-minded about opportunities, you are constantly growing; you’re challenging yourself daily and you’re taking your future into your own hands. That’s what having a growth mindset really means!