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How to cultivate a growth mindset

According to Harvard Business Review, people who have a growth mindset believe they can constantly improve themselves through hard work, smart strategies, and constructive criticism from others. Having a growth mindset means you’re always open to learning more and developing throughout your lifetime.

Having a growth mindset is a valuable tool for self-fulfillment and personal achievement. Rather than risk growing stagnant and sedentary, folks with growth mindsets are able to constantly develop and improve throughout their whole lifetimes. Fortunately, a growth mindset is something you can cultivate.

Tip 1: Appreciate yourself for what you are–strengths, weaknesses, and all.

Business woman balancing between strength and weakness. Vector illustration

A person with a healthy growth mindset understands that everyone has sets of strengths and weaknesses. Without a balance, you’d have no need trying to evolve and change yourself for the better over time. Simply put, if we all existed with tons of strengths and no weaknesses, we’d have no need to grow!

Since weaknesses are a part of life, learning to acknowledge and appreciate yourself for everything you are, is a key step toward developing a growth mindset. You know you have strengths and weaknesses, and you’re always willing to work toward bettering your weaker points.


Tip 2: Choose positive language, especially when speaking to yourself.

How you speak to yourself is a big deal. For example, if you’re constantly doubting yourself, being mean to yourself, or discrediting your own thoughts, it’s tough to be in a growth mindset. With all that negativity, you may not see the point in putting forth the effort to even try growing.

Learn to adopt more positive language when speaking to yourself. Instead of telling yourself something unproductive and negative, such as “I can’t believe I did something that stupid,” swap it for something more truthful, such as “I made a mistake, but now I know what not to do.”

Tip 3: Seek your own acceptance over the acceptance of others.

Self-acceptance is crucial for a growth mindset. If you put too much stock into what others’ opinions of your goals, life, or choices, it can hinder your ability to think in a way that’s conducive for growth and development.

While listening to constructive criticism is an excellent way to learn more and grow, make sure you’re differentiating it properly from regular criticism. Someone with an opinion about the way you’re doing something that’s mean or negative will not help you stay in a growth mindset. Instead, make choices that foster self-acceptance rather than the acceptance of others.

Tip 4: Recognize the value in the journey.

Finally reaching the destination is great, but true lessons are learned during the journey you took to get there. When you’re working hard to grow and improve in something, finally reaching your end goal feels amazing. However, it’s important to realize that the most important part of your efforts was all the hard work you completed to get there. The effort, challenges, and lessons learned along the way are crucial to cultivating a growth mindset.

Tip 5: Focus on results rather than speed.

If you could get everything perfect on the first try, you’d probably live a very easy life. As great as being right all the time would be, it’s not realistic. Instead, it can take a long time to finally master a skill or get something just right.

Focus on your results and learning processes rather than speed. Someone with a growth mindset values the changes that happen over time due to hard work, trial and error, and lessons learned. Doing something fast isn’t valuable if you aren’t truly learning from the experience.

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