By Hugo Alberts (Ph.D), A psychologist, researcher, and former professor of psychology at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. His field of expertise is positive psychology, and he has authored over 25 publications. Founder, CPO of www.positivepsychology.com.
The following guidelines may help you develop a growth mindset:
1. Accept imperfection
Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Being imperfect is part of the human condition. You never signed a contract to be perfect.
2. Lean into challenges
Sometimes the hardest times help us grow. Rather than looking at challenges as something you might fail at, try to consider them as opportunities for growth. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
3. Continue to learn
You are never too old to learn. Approach challenges with curiosity. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this? How can I use this experience to improve myself in the future?
4. Stay current with research on neuroplasticity
As humans, whether we are aware of it or not, our brains are continually changing. Our brain is not hardwired. Just as weightlifting and physical exercise build your muscles, when you are learning, the nerve cells in your brain are growing with mental exercise, and these neurons are developing greater connectivity. The process of growth and rewiring of our brain cells is called neuroplasticity. As we learn, our brain remodels itself based on our new experiences. In sum, your ability to grow and learn is supported by research.
5. Reframe perceived failure
Instead of calling something a “failure,” consider key takeaways and learnings from experiences. Reframe “failure” to “learning opportunity” or “growth opportunity.”
6. Instead of seeking approval from others, seek it from yourself
Taking ownership of your experience allows you to be increasingly aware of yourself and the areas you need to develop.
7. Instead of focusing on the end, focus on the process
Learning occurs over time, so enjoy the ride.
8. Rejoice in growth with others
Sharing successes with trusted others can cultivate motivation and restore energy for learning. Share your success with others. Own your progress.
9. Be patient with growth
Learning doesn’t occur overnight. Remember that learning often takes time and encounters bumps and mistakes along the way.
10. Genius takes challenging work
Those who are commonly defined as “geniuses” have not only talent but also commitment, drive, and persistence.
11. Avoid defensiveness when being criticized
In a not very eloquent way, the individual is giving you a positive learning opportunity. Take some time to identify the specific learning opportunities when given criticism.
12. Disassociate failing from being a failure
Because you fail at something, this does not mean you are a failure.
13. Take time for reflection
Take time to review learnings every day.
14. Place hard work before skill
Efforts should always be rewarded before inherent talent.
15. Practice regular “brain training”
Exercise the brain, just like you would the body. Figure out what exercises you like to do and then do them regularly.
16. Incorporate the word “yet” into regular vocabulary
This primes the mind for possibility and keeps the brain open. For example: “I don’t know how to do this yet.”
17. Learn from others
All humans make mistakes, so learn from those who made them already. This is not to say that mistakes cannot be repeated.
18. Make a new goal for every goal achieved
Learning is an endless, lifelong journey. Stay focused on learning and becoming better at things.
19. Take calculated risks, especially with trusted others
Sometimes risks lead to rewards, and other times, they don’t. Either way, risk can be perceived as an opportunity for growth.
20. Own your attitude
Once you feel that you have cultivated a growth mindset, own it. Let it guide you.