Cultivating a Growth Mindset In and Out of Work

Cultivating a Growth Mindset In and Out of Work

“Think about your intelligence, talents, and personality. Are they just fixed or can you develop them?”


Carol Dweck wrote Mindset in 2006, a book about how the belief in our own abilities can predict success. Since then, she’s spoken about this idea everywhere, from Stanford and Google to TED, where her talk became one of their most popular videos. Her book explains that changing your inner monologue will let you reach your full potential. It’s a reminder that people are only limited by what they think they can achieve.

Some of this might seem like motivational mumbo jumbo but it’s undeniable that always having a self-defeating attitude versus having a drive for self-development can produce two very different people. Who would you become if you replaced every time you thought, “I can’t” with “how can I?”

Cultivating a growth mindset is a daily practice. To embrace it, you have to be mindful, find time for self-reflection, and keep a consistent drive to learn and practice. Changing the way we think may seem like a daunting task but it’s definitely achievable in small steps. Below are 3 tips I’ve used to guide my growth. I hope that it will inspire you to explore new ways to spark growth in your everyday life.

Learn about something new every day. 

As a UX designer, I’m always looking for ways to step out of myself and see things from someone else’s point of view. An easy way to do this without having to find more time in our busy lives is to listen to podcasts while commuting. The podcasting format lets you hear intimate conversations that are uncommon in highly edited forms of media such as TV. For podcasting first-timers, I’d suggest checking out President Obama’s interview on WTF with Marc Maron. The variety of podcasts out there means there’s always an opportunity to explore something you didn’t know before.

Find a physical practice. 

You can’t grow a healthy mind without a healthy body. Sometimes it just takes a dose of happy neurotransmitters to get us into the right mindset. At other times, it’s a reminder that you have to keep practicing to improve. I began taking yoga classes many years ago since it gives me time to reflect while working up a sweat. Since then, I’ve left the “I’m not flexible” mentality behind. Every class is about doing just a little bit better than last time and knowing that those little bits of improvement will add up over time.

Try something that scares you. 

Defeating a demon is one of the best ways to prove that your abilities are not fixed. Like most people, one of my biggest fears used to be public speaking. Learning to gain some control over my anxiety showed that I could change as a person. The trick was to plan a set of small steps to guide the way. I started practicing with a small and supportive speaking group, to speaking at panels, and then moved on to larger audiences. Building confidence in your own abilities is a foolproof way to establish your growth mindset.

Making sure your internal monologue stays positive can be a full-time job. Hopefully these tips will help you develop the habits needed to stay on track to success!

Suggested links:

TED: Carol Dweck – The power of believing that you can improve

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings on Mindset

The One You Feed Podcast #71 with Carol Dweck

WTF Podcast with Marc Maron: President Barack Obama