How To Get A Growth Mindset And Why It Will Change Your Life Forever

 A group of 10-year-olds entered a study where they were given a set of problems that were slightly too hard for them. 


When asked for feedback on how they found the experience, some responded by saying they loved the challenge, that it was very informative. For them, it was overall a positive experience that enabled learning. 


For others, it was tragic. The problems that challenged them left them feeling incapable – they felt as if their intelligence was being tested and they failed. For them, it was the end of the road, not the beginning. 


The psychologist who ran this study is Carol Susan Dweck. Well known for her work on mindset, Dweck’s mission was to understand something that proved to be ground-breaking:

the Growth Mindset. 

How to get the growth mindset and why it will change your life forever

The one group, who saw the challenge as an opportunity to grow and learn, had what Dweck calls the Growth Mindset, while the other had a Fixed Mindset. Study after study, Dweck saw a difference in the two mindsets we presented. Children with the Fixed Mindset ran from difficulty time and time again, preventing themselves from growth and turning to unhelpful attempts in order to do better.


In a TEDx Talk, Dweck speaks of how scientists studied the electrical activity of the brain in students when they confronted an error. The Fixed Mindset students had hardly any brain activity – their brain was not engaged at all. However, students with a Growth Mindset had incredible brain activity; their neurons were firing at impressive rates. They were growing.

Why bother adapting your mindset?

There are two main problems that stand out with a Fixed Mindset: Firstly, this mindset literally refuses to learn. When failure occurs, that is the end. It’s hard to even try again with this mindset. Secondly, people who have this mindset have a constant need for validation. They cannot go through a day without getting a reward, to reassure them they are exceeding. 

How to get the growth mindset and why it will change your life forever

What can we do? Get used to “process praise” – if you’re a leader in any area of your life, be sure to praise people’s process and efforts more than you praise the wins. And for yourself, get comfortable with this notion. Every time you do not achieve, instead of saying “I have not succeeded”, say, “I have not succeeded YET.” This is what Dweck calls The Power Of YET. 

Benjamin Zander, a famous conductor and author of the best-selling book The Art Of Possibility, has a similar method with his students. He starts every year by giving them all an A. The only condition he gives is that the students must write a letter within the first two weeks of school commencing, dated at the end of the year after they’ve done their exams. It must show Zander why they received their A – and start by saying, “Dear Mr Zander. I got my A because….” Zander describes the power of his method beautifully in this video.

“I tell them to fall passionately in love with the person they’re describing,” says Zander. typically they all write about who they could be, how they achieved their A’s, the work they put in, what they’re doing now that they have attained their degree, etc. 


Zander says the result is that “The person I teach is the person that they have described in their letter. You see, I only take A Students.” 

How to shift from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

Use Dweck’s method of “The Power Of YET”

If you do not succeed, tell yourself you haven’t failed; you simply haven’t succeeded YET. Reframe your thoughts, attitude, and mindset to see this as “YET” not “Forever”.

Picture Possibilities

Before you can achieve, you must first desire to achieve. Entertain your dreams and desires.

Get comfortable with knowing the hard part

Every aspiration, goal, and desire has a hard part. If you fail to reckon with it, that’s where the danger lies. Give yourself the option to ask, is the hard part worth it? If so, great. Now it’s no surprise. If not, you’ve just saved yourself a whole lot of time and effort. 

Reuse the waste

Everything can be reused, reshaped, and re-casted to give insight, wisdom, knowledge, experience, and everything you need in order to do even better the next time you try. Use your experiences to strengthen you.

Make sure you’re pushing yourself within the right degrees

Too little or too much challenge can be a deal-breaker. Constantly reassess the boundaries you’re trying to push. Ask yourself, are they within 5 degrees harder than what I am capable of? Make sure the 5 degrees grows as you do.

Shift happens…eventually

Keep pushing at it. Eventually, you’ll break down those barriers; it only takes a difference of 1 degree. Loosen your attachment to winning. become accustomed to celebrating the tries, more than the achievements. Understand that even when you win, it’s a margin of success compared to how far you can go.

How to get the growth mindset and why it will change your life forever

Track your progress

Progress is only felt when it’s made tangible. Every time you make progress, mark off those days on a calendar, tick off a list, and so on. Make this easier and take a look at our blog on implementation intentions.

Keep taking that step forward

Every time you feel resistant to try again or challenge yourself – CHALLENGE that feeling. Ask yourself, what is the next step I can take? And TAKE IT! Knowledge without action is like not having knowledge at all.

Never underestimate the power of a mentor

Someone who breathes life into you when you feel disheartened and unmotivated. Someone who can remind you of your worth, capability and strength, whose belief in you will fuel you to try again when you don’t have faith in yourself. These people blow wind into our sails.

Always give yourself grace

“Grace is the antidote of the brave-hearted.” We cannot try again if we do not allow ourselves to feel grace. Make it a most beautiful, and always-deserved word. 

If you don’t know where to start, why don’t you start with those areas of your life you feel most incapable of? The areas that impact your daily life and truly matter. Get down and dirty with your limitations and stare them in the face, allowing them to know that you simply haven’t got there YET.

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