Everyone in the world struggles with the state of their mental health at some point. After a particularly large failure, you may even feel like there is no point in trying anymore, that you should just give up. One of the best ways to rid yourself of these feelings is by developing a growth mindset. People who develop this particular mindset find that their mental health has improved greatly and learn coping skills that can be used throughout daily life.
What Is Growth Mindset?
Having a growth mindset means understanding that your abilities are not set in stone, and taking a curious approach to setbacks as opportunities to grow. Someone with a growth mindset believes that with enough time and effort, they can improve their skills and even learn completely new ones. When someone with a growth mindset experiences failure, they do not give up or see it as reaching the limit of their abilities. Instead, they view failure as an opportunity to learn and become better.
Benefits of Growth Mindset
Having a growth mindset can yield a multitude of benefits. For example, people with a growth mindset tend to bounce back from failure and adversity much quicker than people without this mindset. They also tend to become more successful, as they understand the importance of setting small, achievable goals which work towards a larger overall goal. These benefits result in a person with a growth mindset having better mental health, as they do not allow themselves to dwell on mistakes or failures. Instead of getting stuck in a rut, they keep on moving forward.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
The foil to a growth mindset is the fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset view their personality, talents, and intelligence as fixed and steadfast. They feel that nothing can be done to improve or change these things. Someone with a fixed mindset is likely to view failure as the absolute limit of their abilities. They refuse to believe that any amount of study, practice, or training is able to help them succeed where they have previously failed. A fixed mindset is considered limiting, as a person with this mindset is unlikely to seek self improvement.
Examples of Growth Mindset
If you’re still unsure of what exactly a growth mindset is, here are some helpful examples:
- You get an A+ on a test and think “Good thing I studied so hard!”
- You get negative feedback on an essay and think “Clearly, I have more to learn about this subject.”
- You start a new project and think “This will be interesting!”
- You’re having trouble learning a new instrument and think “I’m not very good at this yet.”
These types of thinking are all indicative of someone who has a healthy growth mindset, as opposed to a limiting fixed mindset.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset
If you do not have a growth mindset, one can be developed quite easily if you so desire. First, you must recognize that change is possible. Think back on a skill you learned, such as drawing, playing a sport, or playing an instrument. When you first started, you were likely struggled, but through time and effort your skill grew until you found yourself performing this skill effortlessly. Whenever you begin to think that you couldn’t possibly improve at something, remember this example from your past and remind yourself that change is possible.
Next, change the way you think of mistakes and do not be afraid to make them. If you have a fixed mindset, you probably view mistakes as a sign that you are not capable of something and should just abandon your efforts. The key to developing a growth mindset is to begin viewing mistakes as part of the learning process. Every mistake teaches you something and is an opportunity for self improvement.
Finally, make sure you set realistic goals for yourself when learning something new. If you believe you will immediately be amazing at something, you are setting yourself up for massive disappointment. When your expectations aren’t met, you’re likely to give up completely. Learning something new takes time and by setting realistic goals you are able to see steady improvement. This will ensure that you are encouraged rather than discouraged, making it more likely that you will stick with it and keep learning.
By taking these steps it is completely possible to change from a fixed to a growth mindset. Developing a growth mindset is all about making a mental shift. It can take time, but stick with it and your mindset will change before you know it.
Growth Mindset Activities
It is never too late to develop a growth mindset, and this list of activities can help you get started. Remember, even though this list is divided by age, there is nothing wrong with an adult trying these activities. There are also plenty of additional growth mindset activities available online, such as growth mindset activities for students or for teens. They will still help in the development of the growth mindset and they’re more accessible, making it easier to get started.
- Famous Fails
Research famous, successful historical figures and the failures they had. This will help kids realize that everyone fails at some point, and the most important part of failure is learning from it.
- Goal Setting Journaling
Setting goals in a journal format teaches kids the importance of having realistic goals. It also shows them that it takes time and effort to learn something new.
- The Yet Crown
Make a paper crown and have the child write things they want to be good at on it. This activity will remind them that just because they aren’t good at something yet, doesn’t mean they won’t get there eventually.
- Goal Posters
Have the teen make a poster with a realistic goal on it. Allow them to decorate it any way they like, then hang it where they will see it everyday. This will remind them of the importance of making small, realistic goals which lead to achieving a larger goal.
- Weekly Challenge
Teens love a challenge. In this activity, challenge the teen to complete something they feel they aren’t good at. Due to the challenge aspect, they are likely to try harder than they would otherwise. At the end, they’ll realize that with enough effort, they can achieve anything.
- Letter to Future Self
Have the teen write a letter to themself, detailing the goals they would like to achieve in the future. Have them open the letter in one year. When they read the letter, they’ll realize the progress they’ve made in a year.
- Playful Learning
Begin learning an activity that may seem a little silly, such as doodling or juggling. Learning a brand new skill solely for the sake of learning will remind you that you can always learn new things and improve yourself.
- Be Curious
Most adults lose that child-like curiosity as they grow older. Attempt to rekindle that curiosity and you’ll realize just how much the world still has to teach you.
- Be Inspired by the Success of Others
Look around at the people you know. Which of them is successful in a way you would like to be? Spend more time with that person, you may just be inspired to work towards your own success.
Participating in these activities is a great way to begin developing a growth mindset. Keep in mind, not all of these activities will be beneficial to everyone. Find the ones that work best for you or your child and keep at it.