Have you ever noticed how you reacted in certain situations? For example, if you didn’t get a job you have been really really been wanting or maybe that raise that you know you deserve didn’t show up this year. Again.
How did that make you feel? And better yet what was your mindset response?
Depending on how you react in certain situations will dictate whether you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. The growth mindset examples will help you to both identify your mindset and find ways to move towards a growth mindset in your everyday life.
Your mindset is a very powerful tool. And having a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset can really change how you live every day.
Some will argue that there are some things we cannot control. And I can agree with you in part.
However we are not talking about the things that some may consider out of their control. We are focusing on how we react when presented with specific situations in our lives. What kind of decisions we make. And how those decisions impact our quality of life.
Our goal is to better position ourselves to live a fulfilling life. Whatever your goals are. Whether it is having a million dollars in the bank or making more time for family. Your mindset is powerful enough to have a huge impact on whether or not you will achieve those goals.
So let’s get started.
What are we going to be talking about?
25 Real World Growth Mindset Examples
- Growth mindset examples for students
- Growth mindset examples in business
- Growth mindset examples at work
- Examples of Growth Mindset Statements
- Famous growth mindset examples
Now it is your turn. How to implement (Practice it yourself)
What is a fixed mindset?
According to psychologist Carol Dweck a fixed mindset is characterized by a belief that a person’s qualities are fixed and cannot be changed. The idea is that you are given a specific amount of talent, skill and intelligence and there is no ability to change this.
So for example referring to someone as a natural at a specific talent or a statement saying that you could never be good at something can be indicators of a fixed mindset.
What is a growth mindset?
In the alternative according to Carol Dweck, with a growth mindset “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment”.
You can find Carol Dweck's book Mindset: A New Psychology of Success here.
So for example someone that seeks out opportunities to learn and fully welcomes feedback most likely has a growth mindset.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
The best way to really get an idea as to what is truly a fixed mindset vs. growth mindset is to put them side by side. Taking a look at the list of characteristics below where do you think you fit in?
25 Real World Growth Mindset Examples
The best way to really understand what a growth mindset looks like is to experience it in real life. Seeing examples of statements that represent a growth mindset will help you to really understand whether you have a growth mindset and how you can flip your script towards more of a growth mindset.
Growth mindset examples for students
- A student that asks for or seeks out a new way to understand a math problem.
The word failure is not a thing when you have a growth mindset. Someone with a growth mindset will always try to find a way to understand something even when it doesn’t work the first time.
So when a student is confronted with a math problem that doesn’t seem to make sense this student seeks out alternative ways to solve the problem and alternative ways that make sense to them. Working on your problem solving skills is reflective of a growth mindset.
- A student that participates in class even when they are unsure of the answer.
Showing up regardless of the outcoming is a characteristic of a growth mindset. The person that is willing to show up is growing and developing throughout the process. Likewise an individual with a growth mindset has a tendency to not be dissuaded when they have the wrong answer. They keep moving forward and keep learning.
- A student that always asks questions.
Seeking out information is a characteristic of a growth mindset. The student that wants to learn just not just depends on themselves and their ability to figure things out. They seek out others that can help them along the way. They ask questions that will help them to come up with a solution or learn something.
- A student that seeks out opportunities to be challenged. I.e. signing up for the student newspaper even though they are still working on their writing skills
A person that has a growth mindset tends to be a lifelong learner. They are always looking for new things to learn. And they are not afraid to try something new even if it seems difficult.
- A student that is committed to being better everyday.
The student that takes constructive criticism and runs with it most likely has a growth mindset. Likewise the student that sees their accomplishments and commits to being even better is also exhibiting a growth mindset.
Growth mindset examples in business
- Providing learning opportunities for employees and encouraging them to take advantage of these opportunities.
A company that provides learning opportunities within the workplace is fostering growth. And this is a great way to truly encourage employees to have a growth mindset.
- Giving employees the ability to explore learning opportunities outside of the company. This can be through allowing employees time outside of work to pursue their personal development goals.
While having opportunities to learn in the workplace we all have desires and interests outside of the workplace. A company that encourages employees to seek out these opportunities and actually provide employees with the time in order to pursue these opportunities is definitely supporting a growth mindset for their employees.
- Providing opportunities for employees to take on challenges, cross train and explore different departments and areas in the business.
Companies that give employees a chance to cross train in different areas within the business are giving them the opportunity to grow and to be challenged. Sometimes someone will start in one role and through this process may ultimately find that they thrive in a different role. By allowing an employee the opportunity to learn about something new and grow not only does this support a growth mindset but it will also lead to loyalty as it is giving employees opportunities to excel and grow.
- Encouraging a culture where employees can share, receive feedback and openly provide feedback in order to improve both their careers as well as the company's growth.
Having an open door policy and an environment where people can share freely contributes to an environment where both employees and the company grows. This could be anything from team meetings to one on ones as well as company wide town hall meetings. Creating a platform where people can speak and share leaves room for improvement and opportunities.
- Rewarding employees for their ideas.
Companies that value employees' ideas are companies that see great growth. A company that embodies a growth mindset wants to know what you’re thinking. And will entertain ideas from all employees. Have you ever heard of the story of how the Post-Its came to be. It was an idea that came from an employee within 3M. And if the company never paid attention to that employee where would we be today. I love my post-its. It would have been very sad.
Growth mindset examples at work
- Jumping on an opportunity to work on a project that is outside of your comfort zone.
- Taking feedback received from a co-worker and/or a supervisor and using it to improve your skill set.
When receiving feedback it is important to take a moment to digest it. Take a moment to ask questions. Show them appreciation for taking the time to provide you that feedback. And use that feedback to come up with a new plan.
- Being inspired by those that are successful in your area of work and using it as a motivator to learn more.
Others' success can sometimes feel like a threat to those with a fixed mindset. However having a growth mindset means that you take interest in others’s success, are inspired by it and can learn from it.
- Believing that you have the ability to succeed in the project you’re working on even when things become difficult.
Taking on a project that may initially seem difficult is a great way to grow and learn. Challenges present you with an opportunity to learn and gain experience in an area that you may otherwise not have experience in.
- Coming up with a different way to complete a task that is easier and quicker.
Patience is one of the most important things when it comes to the process of learning new skills. However most people will give up because they feel that they are not good enough. Even if you can complete the task but know you have room for improvement, be patient, keep trying and soon enough you will feel like an expert.
Examples of Growth Mindset Statements
Things we say everyday are a great indicator of whether you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. In order to get a feel for whether you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset here are some examples of what you should say or be thinking if you have a growth mindset.
- Since plan A didn’t work I am going to move on to plan B.
The ability to pivot and try a different approach is key when you have a growth mindset. A fixed mindset usually will give up when it doesn’t work the first way. But someone with a growth mindset will most like keep on trying until they find a solution.
- Can I do better than what I have already done?
Looking at what you have done and critiquing it and finding ways to improve is representative of a growth mindset. The willingness to to find room for improvement is a characteristic of a growth mindset.
- I will figure it out.
A life long learner usually has an attitude that they can figure anything out. They will seek out solutions whether it involves asking others or searching for it themselves on the internet or at the library.
- I made a mistake and now I know what to do next time.
Your mistakes don’t define you. Rather they give you an opportunity to learn from experience. And that experience helps to grow your knowledge and with time makes you better at the task at hand.
- Even though I don’t know how to play the piano I am determined to learn how to.
If you feel that you can do anything if you put your mind to it then you have a growth mindset. Anything can be learned. And your talent and knowledge are not finite. Lifelong learning is something you find with a growth mindset.
- I have the ability to improve.
People with a growth mindset believe that if you put in an effort then you will become better. Knowing that no matter how many times you stumble you can try again and improve is a sign of a growth mindset.
- This is hard but I am going to figure out how to make it easier.
Having a growth mindset means acknowledging that you have to start somewhere. And something that might seem difficult at the moment in time will become easier and easier.
- I have the ability to learn anything.
Remember that it is never too late to learn anything. I remember sitting in a law school class with a classmate that was in her 80s. I mean talk about goals. She had a dream and there she was at 80 years young taking advantage of the opportunity, learning and starting a new career.
- I ask for help whenever I need it.
Asking for help can be difficult sometimes. However seeking out help when you need it means that you know you can grow and you’re not concerned about others perceptions of you. You have a goal in mind and you are focused enough to enlist others assistance when needed in order to reach that goal.
- I embrace new challenges.
Embracing new challenges can lead you to very uncomfortable situations. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a trait of those with growth mindsets. Accepting that initially there may be a period of being uncomfortable until you reach your goals means that you are willing to give it your all regardless of how difficult or uncomfortable it is.
Famous growth mindset examples
Sometimes you have to see in action to really embrace what it means to have a growth mindset. Luckily for us there are many famous people that have exhibited this. And we can all learn from them. (See what I did there.)
The most common stories that exhibit a growth mindset are the “rags to riches” stories. The people that grew up in poverty and through hard work and determination became successful in their businesses.
Now I know some may argue that luck had something to do with it. But we are not those people because we have a positive money mindset and celebrate those that have excelled in their businesses.
Some examples to think about:
Oprah Winfrey has broken so many glass ceilings throughout her career. Growing up in rural Mississippi she wasn’t surrounded by much opportunity. However in her late teens when she moved to Tennessee she had the opportunity to work for a radio station. Not only did she work for the radio station but she continued to seek out opportunities including an oratory contest which ultimately won her a scholarship to Tennessee State University.
Through all her accomplishments including becoming the first African American TV correspondent and having her network, Oprah exhibits a growth mindset by seeking out opportunities, improving her crafts and continuing to seek out opportunities.
Mark Cuban started out living paycheck to paycheck and doing whatever he could to make ends meet while in school. He has a reputation of seeking out opportunities which has resulted in his billionaire empire. As Mark Cuban says “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.”
Not giving up when you fail, pivoting and trying again are characteristics of a growth mindset. You believe you have the ability to learn and to get better and you will continue to do so until you reach your goal.
Malala had a vision and she didn’t let anything get in her way. As an activist for female education she didn’t even let an attempt at her life get in her way.
Since that day in October 2012, Malala has committed to what is now an international movement. And has been committed to being an activist for female education.
While many honor or courage, her growth mindset is what pushes her to take the actions she has taken throughout her life to pursue her dreams and her passions.
You can check out her books here and here.
Now it is your turn. How to implement (Practice it yourself)
Now that you have become familiar with examples of a growth mindset are you ready to practice having a growth mindset in your everyday life?
The first thing you need to be is self aware. Pay attention to what you are saying, thinking about and feeling. Then practice flipping the script.
So let’s go over a few examples.
- Challenges. If you are presented with a challenge whether it is at work or home how do you react. Do you run the opposite direction or have a want to hide from it. Or are you open, ready and willing to take on the challenge. When a challenge presents itself instead of running or sighing deeply practice welcoming the opportunity. A challenge is an opportunity to do better. And taking advantage of this opportunity and welcoming it with open arms is a characteristic of a growth mindset.
- Try, try and try again. So you tried and you failed. What do you do? Do you walk away? Do you give up? Or do you try again. When you fall short of your goal or make a mistake instead of viewing it as a failure, look at it as an opportunity to learn new ways. Then take this lesson and try it again. Having a growth mindset means that you try different things, you are open to learning from your mistakes and you're not discouraged when it doesn’t work out the way you want it to the first time.
- Enjoy the journey. We have a tendency to focus on the end product and don’t really pay much attention to the journey. Think about your past projects. How did the journey go. Were you focused on the end product or did you find joy in the process? The next time you are working on a project pay attention to your feelings throughout the journey. Learn to enjoy the journey. This is everything from the time it takes to figuring things out, learning a new skill and enjoying the learning process.
- Celebrate growth. How do you feel when you see others succeed. Are you happy for them or do you get a pit in your stomach. (Confession: I used to really get that pit on my stomach and I soon realized that not only did that make me feel crappy but it also led to self sabotage). Learn how to celebrate both your growth and the growth of others. When others succeed, congratulate them. Learn from them. And be inspired by them. And make sure that you are taking the time to celebrate your own growth. Look at how far you have come. This will motivate you to keep on going further.
- You’re not a natural. When people say “You’re a natural” it sounds like a compliment. But it contributes to the idea of a fixed mindset. Meaning that we are born with a certain skill set and that’s it. There is nothing you can do about it. Instead of looking at someone as a natural take into account the work and effort they have put into getting to where they are today. With an investment in time and learning you can be in the same place as well. No natural talent required.
Do you have a growth mindset?
After reading through this list you may start to identify areas where you have a growth mindset versus areas where you have more of a fixed mindset.
Do you find yourself leaning towards one over the other?
If you find that you have more of a fixed mindset practice trying different ways to flip the script. Look back at the last time you were presented with a challenge for example? How did you react? And how would you react today knowing what you know now.
Try practice flipping the script this week. Everytime you find yourself creeping towards that fixed mindset, find ways that you can practice having more of a growth mindset. And pay attention to your new growth mindset response.
You can even start working it into your routine by making daily statements that resonate with a growth mindset.
Then come back and share with us all about growth that you have seen since implementing more of a growth mindset.
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