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Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

I was speaking with a close friend recently who was having difficulty accepting where she was in her career. She didn’t feel things were coming together as quickly as she would’ve liked and started to second guess if she was following the right path.

This was all based on the idea that progress was coming too slowly and not as naturally as she expected.

She started to discount her ability and even view her apparent skills and talents to be nonexistent. Even when receiving complements, she would be unable to accept them internally.

This is a clear example of having a “fixed mindset,” or the belief that personal talents, skills, and characteristics are unchangeable.

When you run into problems do you assume it’s because you don’t have the skill and competence needed?

Or, do you have a “growth mindset,” where you recognize that personal attributes are often changeable, manageable, and can be learned?

Life is a journey of learning, and when we are able to recognize this, resilience and tenacity will become a part of our natural response.

Focusing on growth can be applied to many domains of life. It can be related to education, career, or relationships, and below are just a few ideas to build this capacity.

Embrace uncertainty

If there is one thing that is for sure, it’s that life and our future is uncertain. Uncertainty is nothing to be feared, but is a constant part of life that offers us a chance to explore our potential.

Think big and bold when it comes to uncertainty. Take action and don’t be afraid to deal with unexpected circumstances. We can learn from mistakes and correct things as we go.

Seek new experiences

With a growth mindset we are open to new experiences. It is accepted that we aren’t going to always do well the first time around, and that new experiences are harmless in the bigger picture.

Experiencing something new is a major way we can expand our perception of what is possible and recognize the vast possibilities we may disregard without personal experience.

Broaden skills and opportunities

As we become more focused on growth we can begin to broaden our skills. We can cease to be scared about trying new things and can develop greater competence because of this.

We will also begin to notice new opportunities that we didn’t recognize prior to our new skills. There is no one I know who didn’t have to learn what they know today. Skills can be improved and learned, so don’t discount yourself before you try to learn.

Learning is a part of life. There is nothing unnatural or inferior about taking time to progress and learn how to do something. We may see people with natural talent, but these skills and abilities were cultivated and developed over time.

Failure should never mean we aren’t supposed to do something. Much of what we aspire for in life will be a growth endeavor, so be prepared to work hard and dedicate time to practice and preparation.

Photo credit: notsogoodphotography

Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2019). Do You Have a Growth Mindset?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Mar 2019
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