Do you believe you can change? Or do you believe you’re too (fill in the blank) to change? How you answer this question influences the likelihood of reaching your goals or giving up on them.  When you cultivate a growth mindset, you orient your life toward greater success and freedom.

What is a growth mindset? 

Carol Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford and author of Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, writes that, “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).” 

In order to cultivate a growth mindset, individuals must embrace the idea that change is possible in some areas while realistically knowing what areas of their lives are not. Dweck believes that the healthiest people have both a growth mindset and fixed mindset that changes over time. 

How do you cultivate a growth mindset?

Cultivating a growth mindset takes intention. It doesn’t happen by accident. Knowing where to focus your time and energy will help you cultivate a growth mindset that will lead to better wellbeing.

Tame your inner critic

Noticing the messages that play on repeat in your mind is the first step to tame your inner critic. When you are constantly berating yourself for failures or miscues in your life, you stay stuck in a pattern of defeat rather than growth and progress. Instead, practice self-compassion when you notice the negativity creeping in. Overcoming toxic thinking is critical to cultivate a growth mindset.  

Persevere in failure

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. Resilience and perseverance in hardship are attributes that cultivate a growth mindset. Pushing through set-backs and seeking new solutions when other attempts fail builds a strong foundation for growth. These important muscles will lead to the ability to thrive

Build new skills

Life-long learning is key to cultivate a growth mindset. Developing new skills and investing in your own self-awareness will lead to a healthier and happier life. Set goals for your personal development. Make time each day, week, or month to dedicate yourself to expanding your knowledge of self and others. 

Accept feedback

Receiving feedback can be both invigorating and painful. Each of us has blindspots we cannot see without the help of others. Asking others to share with us what they observe is a difficult but necessary exercise to cultivate a growth mindset. Listening well and applying what we learn will lead to stronger relational and emotional wellbeing. 

Be inspired by others

While comparison has its pros and cons, it’s important to observe others with a posture of curiosity. Whether it’s in their personal or professional life, learning from what’s working in the lives of others is a helpful way to cultivate a growth mindset. 

Taming your inner critic, persevering in failure, building new skills, accepting feedback, and being inspired by others will help you cultivate a growth mindset. Practicing these five skills will lead to greater success, freedom, and personal wellbeing.