5 Ways to Develop and Maintain a Growth Mindset

At The Kiva Center, we believe that maintaining a growth mindset is fundamental to learning. This will be the first blog in a two-part series on the topic.

What exactly is a growth mindset you may ask? According to researcher Carol S. Dweck, people with a growth mindset believe that their skills and intelligence can improve with effort and persistence. They have the belief that they are constantly growing, learning and improving. People with a growth mindset are also more likely to believe that with time and practice they can achieve the things that they want.

Growth mindset further leads to a desire to learn and a tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, learn from criticism and find lessons in the success of others. This leads to higher levels of achievement over time. This all sounds great, so let’s look at some ways to develop this mindset!

1 Incorporate the word yet into your vocabulary.

People with a fixed mindset, the opposite of a growth mindset, tend to say, “I can’t do x.” Adding the word yet signals to your brain that you can overcome challenges and setbacks and learn. It signals that while you may struggle, with time and effort you can get to the other side.

So, the next time you find yourself struggling to learn a new skill, practice telling yourself that you can’t do it “yet” and see how your mindset and attitude towards learning may change.

2. Ask for constructive feedback.

Learning to take constructive criticism can be hard. We can make this a little easier by asking for the feedback ourselves. Additionally, this can help us outsource lessons, learn from our mistakes and put more effort into skills that may be a struggle at the moment.

The next time you are struggling to achieve a task, ask someone who already does it well for that advice and feedback. Continue incorporating feedback and see what you can achieve!

3. Find value in the process.

Sometimes the road to learning something new, or even changing our mindset, can be long and taxing. It can be easy to give up because why would we put ourselves through something so strenuous if we don’t have to? A key here is to find lessons and value in the process of learning and overcoming challenges.

What else can these challenges teach you? If you can get through all of these challenges, what else could you achieve? What are you learning about yourself in the process?

Try asking yourself these questions when you are going through a particularly taxing learning process. How does this change how you think about getting through the process? You might find that you learn just as much or more in the process than in the outcome!

4. Be realistic

It can be easy to give up when we don’t accomplish something quickly. It is also unrealistic to pick up a new skill on the first few tries. In the words of Thomas Edison, “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

Think of the task you are trying to learn. Is it realistic to learn to play the piano in a week? No. Each step of the way we are learning skills and receiving feedback that builds on each other until we reach the ultimate goal.

Try giving yourself a little grace and seeing how much frustration is alleviated when we have realistic expectations and goals for how quickly we learn, change and grow!

5. Celebrate growth

Cultivating a growth mindset, just like learning a new skill, takes time. It also requires a lot of effort and energy, and this can often lead to frustration. We can harness some of this frustration by celebrating little victories along the way.

Were you able to take constructive feedback well today? Celebrate that.

Were you able to do slightly better at that new skill today than a week ago? Celebrate that too!

Celebrating small steps along the way makes us recognize that we are continually progressing, and that can go a long way towards developing more confidence and motivation.

In our upcoming part two of this blog we will be looking at some examples of growth mindset in action. In the meantime, try out some of these ideas and watch the growth begin!

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