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Growth Mindset Examples

  • At its core, a growth mindset sees opportunities instead of obstacles. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, many individuals believe their intelligence, talents, and skills do not advance once they reach adulthood. 
  • An eagerness to learn is something every person with a growth mindset possesses. The same can also be said of someone who is at least relatively comfortable with failure. Jack Ma, for example, endured numerous failures before finding success with Alibaba.
  • A growth mindset is also associated with a consistent ability to adapt to external forces. What’s more, individuals with this mindset are not afraid to learn from mentors or try new things.

Introduction

At its core, a growth mindset sees opportunities instead of obstacles. It is also a mindset that views failure as a chance to improve and not as a reason to hide from the world.

Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, many individuals believe their intelligence, talents, and skills do not advance once they reach adulthood. This is known as a fixed mindset.

However, psychologists believe that we transition through several stages of development over our lives, with each stage defined by a challenge that must be overcome before reaching the next.

Below we have listed some of the most important examples of how a growth mindset can be embodied in practice.

Be a lifelong learner

An eagerness to learn is something every person with a growth mindset possesses. 

Many believe they are incapable of learning something new, with this belief particularly prevalent among older individuals.

But the, individuals with a growth mindset never classify themselves as too old to learn something new. One example is John Basinger, who, at the age of 67, memorized the 60,000-word poem Paradise Lost.

Neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to external stimuli, is one of the critical counterarguments for those who believe their talents and skills do not advance beyond adulthood.

Become more comfortable with failure

Growth and failure go hand in hand. Why? Because to grow, one needs to make mistakes to differentiate between what works and what doesn’t. 

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is a classic example of a failure as a driver of success.

He failed his college entrance exams three times and was further rejected by Harvard University ten times.

It also took him about 25 years to get his company.

Those with a growth mindset see failure as a sign that they are taking action toward their goals.

They are resilient individuals who understand that never failing means never trying.

Adaptation

Companies that embody a growth mindset can also adapt to the times. Nike, for example, is not selling the same style of shoe it did when it first started over half a century ago.

Nor is it necessarily using the same materials, processes, or management styles.

Adaption requires consistency, which could also be considered an example of a growth mindset. One company that adapted but lacked consistency was Nokia.

The Finnish multinational’s cell phones were adaptive for a time. Some would even say revolutionary.

But with a stubbornness to then adapt to the emergence of smartphones, the company lacked the consistency to grow.

Draw inspiration from others

Those with a fixed mindset view someone else’s success as a threat.

They compare their talents or abilities to an imagined benchmark, usually someone they believe is superior to them in some shape or form.

Growth mindset, individuals are not intimidated by the success of others and do not let their egos stand in the way of improvement.

The most successful people in any field or industry were once amateurs who likely received coaching or mentorship from a role model.

Trying new things

A growth mindset is associated with experimentation and trying new things.

This can be a difficult growth mindset example to embody since many of us are reluctant to upset the status quo – particularly if we are good at what we do.

Other reasons for not venturing outside our comfort zones are related to some of the topics we’ve already discussed, such as fear of failure or a perceived inability to adapt.

Trying new things is ultimately about attitude.

An employee, for example, can adopt an openness to new experiences when upskilling or moving into an industry they’ve always been passionate about.

They can also accept adaptability (and failure) as integral to growth

Key Highlights of a Growth Mindset:

  • Opportunities Over Obstacles: A growth mindset emphasizes seeing opportunities in challenges rather than being hindered by them. It contrasts with a fixed mindset that believes capabilities stagnate after reaching adulthood.
  • Eagerness to Learn: People with a growth mindset are enthusiastic about learning. Unlike those who believe they can’t learn new things, individuals with this mindset stay open to acquiring new knowledge and skills throughout their lives.
  • Embrace Failure: A growth mindset perceives failure as a stepping stone to improvement, not a reason to retreat. Failures provide valuable learning experiences and insights for growth.
  • Adaptation: Embracing a growth mindset enables individuals and companies to adapt to changing circumstances. Adaptability and consistent evolution are crucial for long-term success, as illustrated by Nike’s ability to evolve over the years.
  • Learn from Others: Rather than feeling threatened by the success of others, those with a growth mindset draw inspiration from successful individuals. They seek mentorship and coaching to enhance their own abilities.
  • Experimentation: A growth mindset encourages trying new things and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. This includes experimenting, taking risks, and accepting that failure is a natural part of the learning process.
  • Neuroplasticity: A counterargument against fixed mindset beliefs is the concept of neuroplasticity, which suggests the brain’s ability to adapt and change throughout life. This supports the idea that talents and skills can continue developing.
  • Jack Ma’s Example: Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, faced numerous failures before achieving success. His persistence in the face of failures exemplifies how growth and learning can emerge from setbacks.
  • Nokia’s Lack of Adaptation: The case of Nokia illustrates the importance of consistent adaptation. Despite once being revolutionary, the company’s inability to adapt to the emergence of smartphones led to its decline.
  • Role of Mentorship: Successful individuals often receive mentorship or coaching, underscoring the importance of seeking guidance and learning from others in the pursuit of growth.
  • Trying New Things: A growth mindset encourages trying new experiences and upskilling. Being open to change and embracing adaptability are crucial for personal and professional development.
  • Attitude Matters: Adopting a growth mindset involves cultivating a positive attitude toward challenges, failures, and learning. It’s about fostering a mindset of continuous improvement.

What are some growth mindset examples?

What's a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is a model of looking at the world that focuses on the opportunities ahead, believing that you can change yourself for the better to tackle these opportunities. The growth mindset is opposed to the fixed mindset, where people believe people can’t change based on challenges. The fixed mindset person believes in failure as a personal thing. At the same time, a person with a growth mindset believes in failing as part of the process. Thus, a growth mindset starts by separating oneself from failure, understanding that failure does not identify you but is instead part of the growth process.

What's a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is a model of the world where a person believes – when failing – that that failure is personal. Meaning the person identifies with the failure rather than understanding that the failure is part of the process. While a fixed mindset can help avoid significant failures, it can also be counterproductive as it hampers the growth process for that person.

Growth vs. fixed mindset

The growth mindset separates the failure from the individual, making it possible to see it as part of the growth process. The fixed mindset makes the person identify with failure, thus substantially slowing down the progress and growth of that person, as failure becomes something to avoid at all costs rather than focusing on experimentation and growth.

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