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Let’s say you tried out a new recipe for some friends that were coming over.
…And let’s say it didn’t go very well.
Would you be embarrassed and upset? Or would you be able to bounce back in the face of failure relatively quickly?
Your response to situations like these is an indication of whether you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
We have talked about these opposing mindsets before and how having a fixed mindset can limit your success and happiness in life.Because your mindset strongly influences your quality of life, living with the right mindset is critical to being happy and gaining a sense of fulfillment. But in order to have the best mindset, you have to focus on strategies to help you get into that belief system and optimize your potential.
In this article, we will look at some growth mindset examples that can help you change your beliefs and increase your chances of being successful. These examples will also explore the benefits of growth mindset.
But first, let’s take another look at the concept of a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
Your mindset is the sum of your thoughts and beliefs that determine how you make sense of yourself, your immediate environment, and the world.
According to Carol Dweck, a researcher and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, there are two types of mindsets that people can have: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. These mindsets exemplify one of the most fundamental understandings we have about ourselves, which is how we perceive our personalities and how we act according to those beliefs.
Someone with a “fixed mindset” assumes that their temperament, intelligence, and level of creativity are innate characteristics that cannot be changed. People with a fixed mindset only believe that they have been successful when their performance or intelligence measures higher than the standard. They constantly strive for success and avoid failure at all costs because they fear other people will view them as being innately unintelligent.
Having a fixed mindset leads to a belief that intelligence and talent are limited, so there is no use in working to develop or learn. And, because they believe they were born with a restriction on their talent, those with a fixed mindset put this same restriction on their effort–and subsequently, their success.
Alternatively, people who have a “growth mindset” seek out challenges and view failure as a chance to learn and build upon their abilities. With time and effort, their intelligence and knowledge can grow because they recognize that their effort influences their success, so they spend more time practicing or learning, which leads to higher levels of achievement. (Take one of these growth mindset quizzes to get an idea on your current mindset.)
Your mindset has a strong influence on your behaviors and can govern whether or not you pursue (and therefore accomplish) your goals. Let’s take a look at some examples of some attitudes that can help change your beliefs so you can get on the right path to achieving your goals.
27 Growth Mindset Examples to Change Your Beliefs
1. “It’s never too late to learn.”
With the recent surge of research in neuroplasticity, you’re probably already aware of the scientific argument behind people’s ability to learn later in life. Interestingly, it has been found that older adults often engage in memory avoidance, which suggests their ability to learn is impacted by their own will rather than their ability.
If you have a growth mindset, you never think you’re too old to learn something new. John Basinger is a prime example of someone who had this belief. After nine years of practice, Basinger memorized the second edition of Paradise Lost at the age of 67. This epic poem is 60,000 words long and has since been recited by Basinger on several occasions.
2. “It’s ok if I fail, at least I learned something.”
Failure is often frowned upon by people with a fixed mindset. However, failing is one of the best ways to learn. Having a fear of failure can be limiting because it can hold you back from trying. Adopting a growth mindset is all about figuring out how to fail well, and realizing that learning from your mistakes is what eventually leads to success.
3. “I appreciate constructive criticism.”
A lot of people have a hard time handling negative feedback. Criticism, even when it’s meant to be helpful, can feel like an attack, which puts people on the defense. This is especially true if someone associates their abilities with a portion of their identity.
So how can you use feedback to your advantage?
Let’s say your colleague just told you, “I enjoyed your presentation, but I think there are a few ways you could make it more concise.” In this case, you can take the following steps:
4. “I can always improve at something if I try.”
With a growth mindset, you don’t give up at the first sign of weakness. Rather, you believe that the more effort you put into something, the better you will become. Take a look at these stories of successful people who once failed. Each of them got back up after failing and continued to put effort into their craft until they were successful.
5. “I model my work after others who have been successful in the past.”
People who have a fixed mindset view others who have achieved success as a threat. They wonder if their limited potential can measure up to people who are considered to be leaders in their industry. However, there are endless examples of people who model others as a way to learn new skills.
Think about any role models that you had growing up. Maybe you had a coach or a mentor of some sort, or even an older sibling you looked up to. If there is someone that you look up to in a similar way today–and instead of being jealous of that person’s success, you’re interested in their work–that’s showing a growth mindset.
6. “What can I do better next time to make this work?”
A part of learning from your failures is being able to analyze where you went wrong and identify how you could do things differently next time. It involves a willingness to critique your own work and the ability to recognize areas for potential improvement.
7. “As long as I have determination, I can do anything.”
Having determination helps successful people stick to their goals and remain focused in the face of adversity. With a growth mindset, you won’t give up if you have to find a new way to do something, you will hone in on your creativity and try until you succeed.
8. “I am a lifelong learner.”
People who have a growth mindset don’t walk across the stage at graduation and think they have it all figured out. They remain disciplined and focused in their endeavors so they can build a habit of continuous improvement and accomplish more.
9. “My results don’t define me.”
If you only focus on your test scores, your grades, your weight, your salary, etc, you’re making yourself the victim of a fixed mindset. However, if you can dedicate yourself to showing up every day to focus on your positive habits that will accumulate to eventually form a better identity, that's when you start to grow and develop.
10. “I am at the starting point of my potential.”
With a growth mindset, you know that the only place you have to go from where you are now is up. You recognize that everyone starts at the beginning and there is a learning curve to every new skill. For example, while you may only be able to run for 30 seconds at a time right now, everyone has to start somewhere and this is your starting point.
11. “I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Embarking on a new challenge can be intimidating because of the unknowns and the potential for failure. This may result in avoiding challenges and holding onto excuses so you can remain in your comfort zone.
If you can accept that there will be bumps in the road and learn to be at peace with that, you will be more likely to pursue the path, despite the inherent obstacles.
12. “This challenge is a good opportunity for me to learn.”
We are continuously faced with choices that can impact our future. Should you accept a job offer, should you sign up for a new class, or should you pursue a new goal? Choosing to take on a new challenge makes a huge impact on how you develop as a person. The more you challenge yourself, the more opportunities you will have to learn because each new challenge presents a new opportunity to gain experience and knowledge.
13. “I’m not looking for other people’s approval.”
When you have a growth mindset, your motivation for improving yourself is solely for your own benefit. When you prioritize learning for your own well-being, you’re able to let go of the need for approval from others and recognize that there is ample room for growth, development, and success. Once you can detach yourself from needing other people’s validation, you’re giving yourself potential to grow.
Those with a fixed mindset are constantly seeking approval from others, as they don’t want to be seen as having a “permanent” deficiency in any domain of their life. Rather than having this need for approval, those with growth mindsets believe that it’s impossible to know a person’s true potential. What makes the growth mindset so helpful is that it creates a passion for learning instead of a need for acceptance.
14. “I can see the bigger picture.”
It’s easy to rationalize doing mediocre work when you lose sight of the bigger picture. However, if you have a constant reminder of the purpose of the work that you’re doing, you will maintain the motivation that is required to improve.
For example, you may not want to get up at 5:00am to go to the gym, but if you consider the bigger picture of becoming healthy and you’re able to get past that mental hurdle, you will develop a sense of purpose that inspires you to keep working.
Think of the moments that you’re vulnerable to giving into the impulses that separate you from success. Then come up with tangible reminders of your ultimate purpose to dissolve that urge and keep you on track.
15. “I am patient.”
Nothing that is worth doing comes quickly. You have to be realistic when thinking about how long it will take for you to achieve your goals. If you’re aiming to lose weight, could you lose 50 pounds in a week? If you want to learn how to play the violin, would you be ready to perform in front of an audience tomorrow?
Even for more simple aspirations, such as learning how to apply a math equation, it can take several times of practicing the technique before you’re able to master it. You have to have the patience to allow your brain to process and absorb new information and then be able to apply it. You can uncover incredible talents if you’re willing to take the time to try. However, we often struggle with making time for new things, so we settle with a fixed mindset of, “I can’t.”
16. “Effort makes me stronger.”
Look at the classic example of babies learning to walk. What would happen if they didn’t put any effort into learning this skill after falling the first time?
In this case, the effort that babies put forth makes them both physically and mentally stronger so they’re able to acquire this skill. Likewise, any effort you put toward improving yourself will make you stronger.
17. “I believe in myself.”
Having the confidence that you can grow despite any challenges that are out of your control puts you back in the driver’s seat. If you believe in yourself, you will be more likely to stick with something and be resilient if you hit a setback. Alternatively, if you don’t have that initial belief in yourself, you’re unlikely to even take the first step in trying.
18. “I’m going to try a new approach.”
Having a growth mindset is about working smarter. Understanding that there are different styles of learning is a critical element to working smarter because it allows you to be willing to take various approaches to acquiring new skills, which ultimately puts you in control. If you believe that you can achieve something by taking a new approach, it will trigger action, which will diversify your learning opportunities and lead to growth.
For instance, when I was in school, each year I assumed failure in history before I even showed up to class on the first day because I found the lectures to be so boring. I couldn’t pay attention to someone talking for 50 minutes without having any sort of interaction. However, once I recognized that I was able to do much better on the tests that had included a field trip in the lesson of some sort, I realized that the subject was just being taught in a way that was very difficult for me to learn. This triggered me to take a different approach to learning the material, which eventually helped me succeed.
19. “I can’t do that…yet.”
Having a growth mindset means believing that you can eventually learn to do anything. Teachers and parents have been encouraged to teach this attitude to children to help them grow up knowing that there is unlimited potential for their future–and with practice and effort, anything is possible. (If you want your kids to learn more about growth mindset, check out these videos about growth mindset on YouTube.)
Check out our collection of quotes about growing up to encourage you as you continue to change and develop.
20. “I am committed to the process.”
People with a growth mindset appreciate the process and journey they experience on the way to meeting their goals. They don’t want that A on a paper just to receive the highest passing grade. Rather, they want to get an A on their paper because it is a reflection of what they have learned and retained during the process of writing it.
Having a growth mindset means you’re less focused on the end result and more concerned with forming the right habits along the way to ultimately make you successful. By having process goals, you’re setting yourself up for success through your everyday habits, which ultimately makes your success more sustainable.
21. “I will weigh the risks and not let them stop me.”
Shying away from risks sometimes results in missed opportunities. While it would be foolish to believe there are no risks, it’s wise to identify them and determine their significance in growing toward your goals.
Feeling nervous? It may be fear. There are several types of fear related to risk-taking:
Once you have weighed the risks, if you find yourself hesitating to move forward, ask yourself if one of those fears is getting in your way. If so, recognizing it is the first step to overcoming the fear.
Next, if you’ve decided it’s simply fear standing in your way, take steps to mitigate it and move forward toward your goal. Depending on the risk, you may need to change course a bit while still moving forward.
22. “Yes, and…”
Using the response, “yes, and…” rather than “yes, but…” can be a very powerful tool in your arsenal for cultivating a growth mindset. It gives you a positive response when your answer would normally be “sure, I agree with you, but..”, which brings a less powerful response with a nod toward disagreement.
You may have seen this used in improvisational comedy, or improv, between two people. The first makes a statement. The second responds with “yes, and…” which builds agreement with the statement and continues moving the idea forward.
Using a “yes, and…” response is a great way to get past a fixed mindset and dispel your limiting beliefs.
23. “I will take action in a timely manner and not procrastinate.”
Having a growth mindset gives you no room for procrastination. Have you ever needed to do something but put it off just because it was not an enjoyable task? Most of us do.
However, when you cultivate a growth mindset, you'll see how putting tasks off regularly can derail you from your pathway to success.
Need a little help in getting procrastination under control? Take a look at our article about staving off procrastination in school, work, and life. Find out what you can do to stop sabotaging your achievements.
24. “I commit to 10 minutes a day of reading/listening to positive self-help materials.”
Ten minutes a day is not a huge time commitment and it's certainly worth investing in your mindset and overall mental health. Whether you prefer to read or listen to podcasts, or both, there are many self-help materials to choose from.
If you're interested in reading, you may want to check out one of the following books:
If you're interested in podcasts, try one of these:
Want more? In this article, you’ll find 25 of the best podcasts for self-help. You'll be surprised how just ten minutes a day of inspiration and motivation can make a difference in your mindset.
25. “I am present.”
Have you ever felt like you were just going through the motions to get through your day? Or have you ever been so distracted that you've missed out on what's going on in your life right now?
Determine to be present. You can do this by consciously taking notice of what you're thinking and what you're doing in any given moment. This will help rein your thoughts in from worry or anxiety so you can be present in this exact moment.
Sometimes we're distracted by the screens we use. How often have you been in the presence of family members or friends and your phone, TV, or computer held your attention?
When you make a conscious decision to set aside digital devices or worry, and interact with those around you, it can make a huge difference in your mindset and in your relationships. Think of what it feels like when you're in the presence of someone who is distracted? Now, think of what it feels like when someone is giving you their undivided attention? On the one hand, you feel neglected; on the other hand, you feel valued.
Being present in each moment will take you forward by leaps and bounds into a healthier growth mindset.
26. “Every obstacle is an opportunity.”
Have you ever had a goal you were trying to achieve and something got in your way? Did you see that something as an obstacle? Or did you see it as an opportunity?
Once you start to see obstacles as opportunities, you'll change your mindset to view them not so much as roadblocks but only as detours. If you view something as a roadblock, it can stop you in your tracks. However, if you see it as a detour, you haven't lost sight of your goal; you've just changed your game plan.
To fully make this a part of your growth mindset, it takes practice. With each obstacle, challenge yourself to step back and see it as an opportunity and, after a while, you'll find it becomes easier to view your life's path this way and it will serve you well.
27. “I roll with the punches.”
If life gets hard (and it will), acknowledge it. But don't stop there. Take time to evaluate what is in your control and what is not in your control. The worst thing you can do is get stuck or shut down emotionally. Instead, take a good look at what is still in your control and make a plan.
Throughout the process, stay positive, and be proactive. It starts with controlling your thoughts, then taking action. Find out how you can build a healthy mindset with our article about controlling what you can control in your life.
When life comes at you hard, roll with the punches.
Final Thoughts on These Growth Mindset Examples
It is possible to change your mindset from one that is fixed to one that is willing and able to grow. The first step is to recognize your fixed mindset tendencies and beliefs and correct them.
In this article we reviewed 27 examples of growth mindset beliefs that can help you be successful. Your mindset can ultimately impact your actions and behaviors, especially when it comes to learning, which is the first step to getting better at anything in life.
Next time you find that your beliefs may be limiting you, think of these examples and try to change your inner voice accordingly. (To learn more, read our post on growth mindset statements.)
If you have kids, why not introduce to them the concept of growth mindset by using growth mindset phrases and these growth mindset coloring pages.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.