Have you ever heard of the term growth mindset?

The first time I ever heard this term, I was participating in a training for my job as a Child Care Educator. My director at the time showed us a video all about the work of someone called Carol Dweck, and the power of yet.

The more I listened the more I wanted to hear. I looked back to when I was growing up and compared what I was hearing to how I was brought up.

I grew up in a very fixed mindset upbringing. I wasn’t overly coordinated, and sport did not come naturally to me. And with schooling, I would get the A’s but I again I had to do the work.

I would receive lots of comments or statements about my abilities from family members right through to teachers (school and university)

“You can’t do that – you’re not coordinated enough”

“Withdrawing from this class would be the best option. Even if you put the work in, I doubt you will pass anyways.”

“You better take someone else to drive you, you know that you won’t be able to do that drive.”

Looking back, I wish someone showed me the growth mindset way. Instead of you can’t do that, I wish they had said let’s practice. Where should we start first?

But now I know all about growth mindset and I am armed with the knowledge. The knowledge of the positives of having a growth mindset has on so many different aspects of your life. I not only practice this everyday with my children but with myself as well.

What is a growth mind set?

The term of growth mindset was coined by Dr Carol Dweck.

Dweck and her colleagues were interested in the attitudes of failure in students. While some of the students took the set back and rebounded to try again. Some students were devasted, and they didn’t rebound. Some even gave up defeated.

Dweck and her colleagues wanted to know the why. Why did some of the students bounce back after not being successful the first time, and why did some of the students just give up.

They discovered that when students believed they could get smarter, they understood that effort makes them stronger. Just like a muscle the more you practice the stronger it gets. We are always growing and learning.

You don’t just stop learning when you finish school.

A person with a growth mindset does not see things as either a failure or a success. Instead, if they see that when you don’t get it right first go, it is just a steppingstone. A steppingstone in developing and growing your abilities. A chance to learn more.

A fixed mindset is the opposite. you believe that you are born with your abilities, talents, intelligence and personality traits etc. That is who you are and there is no way to change that regardless of what you do.

Benefits of growth mindset

  • Improves self esteem
  • Learn new skills
  • You will be open to new challenges
  • You will build a lifelong love of learning
  • Higher chance of improved career success
  • You will be receptive to feedback
  • You will feel inspired by the success of others
  • Experience less stress

9 ways to help develop a growth mindset


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Have you heard the saying practice makes perfect? A baby learning to walk, doesn’t just stand up and walk away one day. They are practicing every day. From learning to ride your bike to learning to write your name it all takes practice. You might not get something the first time, but the more you practice the more you will learn and grow.

Find outside help

The world is full of information, and all you need to do is ask. By asking someone might know a different approach, or some more information to help.

Stop seeking approval of others

You know you best. You are the best person to know your journey. If you are always seeking the approval of others, you are always going to feel like you are falling short.

Change your wording – you’re not failing, you’re learning

When you have setbacks. Don’t see it as a failure. See it as it is. You are learning.

Take on challenges

See challenges as opportunities. every time you start over you are one step closer to becoming a master.

Focus on the process not the end result

Concentrate on your journey. Focus on each step not the end result. The journey might take time, but it is worth it.

No need to rush

Learning takes time. Sometimes it might take a week, other times it might be 12 months. It is your journey. Slow growth is still growth. Remember to grow at your own pace.

See criticism as a gift

There seems to be a negative connotation around criticism. It takes time, and I must admit I still struggle myself when I receive criticism. But what if we see criticism as a gift instead of something negative. Instead of seeing criticism as someone pointing out what we are doing wrong, we can see it as someone helping to show us where our learning journey will take us next.


It is a great habit to get into. Reflecting! If it was a success or a work in progress reflect. What worked well and why. What could you change or try differently next time?

Remember that I have not failed – I have just started

Maggie x

2 responses to “How to develop a growth mindset”

  1. davidsdailydose avatar

    This is great stuff, Maggie! I’ve watched Carol Dweck’s TED talk. I agree criticism can be a gift, but not all gift-givers should have equal access to our eyes and ears. For instance, I’ve been criticized by spiteful colleagues who simply wanted to take me down a notch. Second, our life journey will be much harder without the approval of others. Again, I mean the “right” others. I understand the intention behind, “stop seeking the approval of others,” but if taken to the extreme this means I don’t care what ANYBODY thinks. And that’s not a good place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bymaggierae avatar

      Thank you for your feedback, David. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Definitely making me rethink some of my wording in this piece.


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