Emerge and Spread Your Wings

A Growth Mindset

“A simple belief about yourself guides a large part of your life. Much of what you think of as your personality actually grows out of this “mindset.” Much of what may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential grows out of it.”
Dr Carol S. Dweck

In her book Mindset, Dr Dweck describes the results of years of research in the positive psychology movement on the power of people’s beliefs, and the powerful result of changing those beliefs. We tend to be predisposed to have a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset holds the belief that you only have a certain amount of intelligence, and creates an urgency to prove yourself “smart”.

A growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. A brief overview can be found in the table below.

Fixed Vs Growth Mindset

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset
Believes that intelligence is Static Believes that intelligence can be developed
Leads to a desire to look smart, and therefore a tendency to Leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to
Avoid challenges Embrace challenges
Give up easily due to obstacles Persist despite obstacles
See effort as fruitless See effort as a path to mastery
Ignore useful feedback Learn from criticism
Be threatened by others’ success Be inspired by others’ success


So why is this research important? I believe a growth mindset can help with our resilience. If we can view challenges, not as evidence of our inabilities, but as a way to get smarter, we can bounce back from obstacles much easier. Dweck’s research indicates that we can shift our mindset from fixed to growth with real benefits to our own happiness and productivity.

How can we cultivate a growth mindset? Here are some of my favourites.

  • Accept imperfection: remember that everyone makes mistakes. Being imperfect is part of the human condition
  • Lean into challenges
  • Continue to learn
  • Re-frame perceived failure and disassociate failing from being a failure
  • Focus on the process not the outcome
  • Take time for reflection
  • Incorporate the word “yet” into your vocabulary. ” I haven’t learned how to do that YET”
  • Make a new goal for each goal achieved
  • Rejoice in growth with others

Ref: 20 Guidelines For Developing a Growth Mindset – Positive Psychology Practitioner’s Toolkit.
Mindset – Dr Carol S. Dweck

I encourage you to consider how exploring and nurturing your own growth mindset might have a positive impact on all aspects of your life. For more help with this contact me to discuss professional supervision.