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From Stuck to Growth: The Essence of a Growth Mindset

Asking for help does not mean giving up. On the contrary, it means refusing to give up. That is the essence of a growth mindset. However, a growth mindset involves more than just this way of rethinking.

A growth mindset allows you to push your limits, learn new things, and sometimes even move mountains you didn't think were moveable.

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. People with this mindset often avoid challenges and don't even bother to try something, let alone take on a completely new challenge.

Carol Dweck, worked as a Professor of Psychology at Standford University and has spent decades researching the link between your mindset and performance and success. Your mindset can often have a greater impact than the talent you have. This is also the reason why some very talented elite athletes fail to break records or reach the top anyway. If you want to achieve something you need at least a growth mindset is her conclusion.

The qualities of someone with a growth mindset

A growth mindset consists of a combination of behaviors and underlying beliefs that enable someone to grow to unprecedented heights and achieve things.

Belief in development

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve themselves and that effort leads to growth. For example, it is never too late to learn to play the piano. If you keep practicing consistently, you will get better at playing the piano even without talent.

Love to learn

Instead of focusing on the end result, people with a growth mindset enjoy the learning process itself. For example, this kind of person may take a painting course where they have no ambition to become a painter. They simply enjoy learning to paint.

Resilience in the face of setbacks

They see setbacks and failures not as proof of inability, but as an opportunity to learn and grow. With this mindset, for example, when a product launch fails, you can seize the opportunity to improve and relaunch your product based on customer input and your own analysis.

Openness to feedback

Feedback is the petrol that keeps the engine running for people with a growth mindset. They are open to criticism because they see it as an opportunity to learn and not as a personal attack. Imagine writing a novel. After years of writing, one publisher after another rejects you and you get a lot of content-related negative feedback. This may make you feel personally rejected as a writer, but with a growth mindset, you adjust the manuscript based on the feedback until there is a publisher who does want to publish it.


If you want to achieve something, you need perseverance. With that mindset, you continue to pursue your goal and keep trying, even if it is difficult. For example, if you are training for a marathon, you will have to keep training even during bad weather and with minor injuries. Because if you give up you will never reach the finish line.


If you love baking cakes and you open a bakery that sells cakes and bread, you hope there will be a lot of demand for just your cakes. If not, people with a growth mindset can easily adapt to customer needs. Even if that means not selling any more cakes.

Pro-active attitude

Instead of waiting for opportunities, you can actively look for opportunities to learn, grow, or achieve goals. If you are a recent graduate looking for a job, you can go down the traditional job sites and send a dozen cover letters out the door, but there are many other options. If you are proactive, you can also pass networking events, take additional online courses, or start a blog in your field in the hope that you will be seen for who you are and what you can and know.

Believe in your own potential

If you are convinced that with the right efforts and strategies, you can overcome any challenge, you can move mountains. Or climb them. Someone with a growth mindset believes that any goal can be pursued and achieved. For them, it is simply a matter of how much energy you put into something and whether you are willing to adjust your strategy along the way.

Focus on growth rather than approval

When you are not dependent on validation from others in terms of mindset but strive for personal and professional development, very special things can emerge. From unique original artworks to businesses that take a completely different approach, crushing the competition.

Collaboration and sharing

Every person always has something valuable to offer. By harnessing the power of the collective, the most valuable insights and innovations can emerge during brainstorming sessions. People with a growth mindset tap into this power of the collective. Even at times when they think they already have the right solution.  


An often-overlooked element in the discussion about the growth mindset is the role of self-reflection. Individuals with a growth mindset are not only focused on learning and improvement; they also regularly take time to reflect on their own thought processes and behavior. They ask themselves: "Why do I think this? Why did I react this way? What can I do better next time?"

Through these moments of introspection, they can identify patterns in their thinking and actions that might be hindering their progress. They can then actively devise and implement strategies to break these patterns. This not only optimizes the learning process but also enhances self-awareness.

The characteristics of a fixed mindset

Someone who has a fixed mindset generally does not get off as well as someone with a growth mindset. Because of limiting beliefs, the person will not learn or at least be less likely to do anything.

They believe that they are just who they are and that they may or may not be good at something. As if people cannot change over time or learn something new.

They also don't want to be challenged. Usually out of fear of failure or negative feedback. They may even feel threatened by the success of others and if they do try something, they immediately give up after the first setback. Because they believe failure signals the limit of their abilities.

Tips to learn a grocery mindset

Someone with a fixed mindset may not immediately believe it, but everyone can learn a growth mindset. In fact, a large study of taxi drivers in London revealed an unusual finding.

These taxi drivers are only allowed to drive a taxi if they know all the streets in London by heart. Something that with a lot of practice anyone can learn. Now, brain scans revealed that the back of the hippocampus of taxi drivers is larger than that of other people. This part of the brain is exactly the part used to learn and navigate things.

It was even found that in drivers who had been in their profession the longest, the hippocampus was even larger than in just starting drivers.

Learn to give new meanings to situations

We give meaning to everything we hear see or feel throughout the day. Sometimes that meaning is very literal and sometimes an interpretation. A wooden tabletop is a wooden tabletop. We will all give that meaning to it. But a failure can have different meanings.

If we learn that we are flexible in what it means to us, we can give it a new 'frame'. For example, it teaches us how not to do something.

Use the word 'yet' more often

We can't be good at everything, but we can get better at something we choose. Suppose you are not very good at a foreign language. Then say you are not that good at a foreign language yet. By doing so, you leave open the possibility of getting better at it one day.

Work on your self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-esteem and self-confidence are similar but are two different concepts. Self-confidence is about the things you can or cannot do to some extent. Everyone can wash dishes, but not everyone can fly. Self-esteem is about valuing yourself, regardless of what you are or are not good at.

Coaching can help you work on your self-esteem and self-confidence, allowing you to look at the world around you with more optimism.


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