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Growth Mindset

7 simple ways of helping young people acquire a “growth mindset”

Written by Russ Gadzhiev, PhD

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie


“It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, sail away from the safe harbour. Explore, Dream, Discover.” – Mark Twain


Life is about growing. We all grow up to become adults. And we continue to grow even though we are not kids anymore. It is important to remember that growing is an essential part of life. What do we mean by the word “growth”? Well, growth means developing one’s skills, expanding one’s horizons, connecting with others and, of course, living a happier life. Isn’t it our ultimate objective – to be happy and fulfilled?

To grow, we need to strive to acquire the so-called “growth mindset.” We have already briefly discussed that concept in some of our Shiminly articles but let me remind you what “growth mindset” means. First and foremost, a “growth mindset” is our willingness to embrace challenges and make use of them as opportunities for development. Indeed, people who possess a “growth mindset” do not perceive their obstacles and difficulties as “failures.” Instead, they think that whatever difficulties they encounter, these difficulties can be turned into opportunities. 


So, in this short article we are going to talk about ten simple steps of acquiring a “growth mindset.”


Make a list of goals to pursue.

People with a growth mindset always have a goal to work towards. If they have achieved one already, they start working on the next one. Remember, that people with a “growth mindset” always have something to do. And they do that not for the sake of having a “to-do list,” but because they enjoy challenging themselves and re-inventing themselves as they overcome their challenges.

Also remember that learning is a never-ending process. Life is all about learning (unfortunately, not many people realize that and continue being self-critical). If you embrace the idea of life-long learning and seek opportunities to gain experience in every situation, you will find yourself more excited about life in general.


Embrace mistakes and appreciate the feedback you are given.

People who have a “fixed mindset” are overly cautious not to make mistakes, because they see them as their failure. If they make a mistake, they get extremely upset. Mistakes can even discourage them from continuing to work towards their goals. They may even want to blame others for their mistakes. If their boss tells them that they have done something wrong, they are not able to embrace such feedback. They also develop a certain anxiety thinking that their boss does not like them. They become defensive when they hear feedback. 

Unlike people with a “fixed mindset,” people with a “growth mindset” do not perceive their mistakes as a big problem. They are not defensive about feedback. Quite the contrary. They love feedback. They want to hear feedback because they know that this is something that can help them become better. As a result, they are more likely to achieve success compared to those people who possess a “fixed” mindset.


Listen carefully to your thoughts.

Pay close attention to what you think. Do not allow your negative thoughts to get an upper hand. Remember, what you think has a direct impact on what is happening around you. Yes, it may sound a little cliché, but this is what it is. So, if you are consumed by dark thoughts, snap out of them. Sometimes, though, if your dark thoughts are too overwhelming, it may be a sign of a medical condition such as depression or anxiety. In this case, of course, snapping out of it may not be possible and professional intervention may be required.

Of course, it may take you some time to learn how to leave your negative thoughts behind. After all, the ability to think positively is a habit that you need to develop so that it becomes entrenched. So, start today!


Don’t be too hard on yourself

When trying to cultivate a “growth mindset”, it is especially important not to be too hard on yourself. Of course, cultivating a “growth mindset” may require some effort, but it does not mean that you need to criticize yourself if something is going wrong. Remember that it is the journey that matters, not the result. So, keep that in mind and take your time.


Get yourself inspired by the success of the people around you.

Unlike people with a “fixed mindset,” people who possess a “growth mindset,” can sincerely congratulate those who have achieved a certain degree of success. Instead of being envious or even depressed about that, they draw inspiration from such success stories. They don’t compare themselves to others (which many people, unfortunately, are guilty of). They understand that comparing themselves to others is a slippery slope towards a true failure.

If someone around you has achieved success, make sure you congratulate them and then ask them for advice on how they managed to get where they are today. These insightful tips can be quite useful, and you can even think about how they can relate to your career and life in general.

Similarly, if someone around you is going through a difficult time, support them and cheer them up. If people are telling you about the mistakes they have made, don’t judge them, but try to analyse their mistakes and think how you can avoid them yourself.


Get your worries and anxieties under control.

This is a tough one. Truth be told, many people suffer from anxiety these days. Anxiety indeed can ruin one’s life and seriously demotivate people. It is crucial to learn how to deal with one’s emotions and especially one’s anxiety.

If you have not been diagnosed with a medical condition, then it should not be difficult for you to learn how to drive away anxious thoughts. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Keep on trying if you are not sure about your success. Keep trying if others are judging you – remember many people are also shackled by their worries and are simply afraid to do things they have always wanted to.

Whenever you lack confidence to do ambitious things, remember that those people who have achieved success in their lives, they are not superheroes with extraordinary powers. They are people just like you who managed to deal with their own insecurities and drive away their fears. If they have managed to do that, why can’t you?


Be realistic about your goals.

It is particularly important to set only those goals which you can achieve. If you are aiming too high, it may be detrimental to your success. Instead, think about your overall goal and break it down into smaller goals. This will help you achieve a few things. Firstly, it will keep you motivated. Indeed, small goals will give you small victories and they will give you more motivation to continue. Simple as that. Setting small goals and achieving them will also help you maintain your confidence levels. 

Small victories will help you see that you are making progress and that will give your more confidence and show you that you can achieve more. Finally, having small goals make the whole process of achieving success fun and exciting. Surely, the process of achieving something and moving towards your goals does not have to be daunting. It can be fun. So, try to refrain from setting goals that may be too ambitious – you don’t want to demotivate yourself and then end up being depressed.



So why should we all strive to get a “growth mindset”? Well, if you have a growth mindset, you are more likely to be happy. You are more likely to be successful in life. If you have a “growth mindset,” you can learn from your failures. You don’t dwell on them. You turn them into opportunities for self-growth.

If you want to learn more about the difference between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset,” check out other articles on our Shiminly blog. The wealth of information which our blog contains will make you a more successful and confident person.






Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Portuguese. 

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Chris is from Devon, in the south of England. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for over six years and has taught in China, the UK, Hungary and Spain. He has a background in Music and studied Composition at the RSAMD in Glasgow, Trinity Laban in London and at the University of York. After finishing his master’s at York, he travelled to China to teach and fell in love with it. He has been teaching ever since.

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