I’ve had a deep interest in cognitive behavioural therapy since my bipolar diagnosis. In my post about negative thoughts and why they aren’t real, I discuss mindset and how our actions stem from our thoughts. This has inspired me to research and write more about mindset, specifically about fixed and growth mindsets and how tools like growth mindset phrases, quotes and words can help with how we think about learning and ultimately, change the way we do things and what we achieve in life.
Researcher and professor Carol Dweck coined the terminologies ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset’. This excerpt from Carol Dweck’s article in Brainology explains the two mindsets quite well-concerning students.
In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
—Carol Dweck, Stanford University
What is a Fixed Mindset?
People with a fixed mindset feel that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, they take feedback personally, failure is terrible, the give up easily when things get tough, and they’re less likely to take creative risks. People with a fixed mindset believe they were born with the skills; they think that ‘some people have it, some people don’t’. They either think they’re a natural or they’re not cut out to be something.
Examples of Fixed Mindset
- I’m either good at it, or I’m not
- I stick to what I know
- I don’t like to be challenged
- Feedback and criticism are personal.
What having a growth mindset actually means
People with a growth mindset believe they can improve through practice, and that through failure, they can learn and pivot. Having a growth mindset enjoy receiving feedback because it helps them improve and create new systems. There is nothing too challenging; they embrace the challenges and see obstacles as ways to experiment and solve problems. The growth mindset is a journey of continual improvement, even when there are risks involved.
Whether you’re in the fixed or growth mindset is a huge determining factor of whether or not you grow in your abilities; our mindset impacts our actions or inaction to learning. Just as I’ve written in other blog posts about our thoughts being the determining factor of what happens next, the same goes for someone with a growth mindset. It starts with the belief; it leads to a person taking action and then growing through experience, failure, and so on.
Examples of Growth Mindset
- Failure is an opportunity to grow.
- I can learn to do anything I want
- I like to try new things.
- Challenges help me to grow.
Through my analysis of the two different mindsets, I’d have to say I have a growth mindset with a little bit of a fixed mindset thrown in. I most certainly wouldn’t be where I am today in my career if I didn’t have a growth mindset as most of what I do now was self-taught and years of practice. However, I do find myself fighting off anxiety because I’m worried I can’t do something or am happy with the comfort of sticking to what I know best. But, over time, I’ve been challenging my mindset even when I’ve felt uneasy, and it’s paid off. Sometimes you’ve just got to grit your teeth and do it.
The benefits of having a growth mindset
- You’re more likely to start and try new things which opens the door to finding a newfound passion.
- A growth mindset Builds resilience and develops the belief that you can change even when it’s hard.
- People with a growth mindset are more likely to stick with it, stay hungry and continue wanting to grow.
How to develop a growth mindset
Just because you currently have a fixed mindset doesn’t mean you can’t change it.
Think about when you exercise. You might regularly do squats to build muscle tone and strength. But to build muscle tone and strength, takes more than a few repetitions; it takes hundreds of repetitions over time. The same goes for changing your mindset. Our brain is like a muscle; it takes regular exercise, challenges and practice to change the way we think.
PositivePsychology.com suggests that there are eight approaches to developing the foundations for a growth mindset; these include:
- Believing that you can change
- Seeing failure as an opportunity
- Practising self-awareness for a better understanding of yourself
- Be curious
- Accept that there will be challenges, but they will help you to grow
- Focus on doing the things you love; it makes it easier to succeed.
- Persistence is essential to keep ongoing. There will be obstacles, but having a strong-will will get you to the finish line.
- Inspire and be inspired by others; it’s all part of growth.
You can exercise your mind towards a growth mindset by regularly carrying out these mindset activities:
- Reading affirmation cards daily
- Practising gratitude to stay positive
- Writing in a journal
- Listening to positive and uplifting podcasts
- Mixing with positive people and cultivating positive friendships
- Learning to catch negative thoughts and swap them with more positive ones and,
- Filling your mind with positive growth mindset quotes to flip the switch.
Flip the switch with these quotes for a growth mindset
If you’re reading this with a fixed mindset, it’s likely you’re saying something along the lines of, ‘these quotes on mindset aren’t going to work’. What I can recommend is that you step out of your comfort zone and start small. Starting small could be reading one of these quotes about change and growth daily for the next 26 days. If you want to go one step further, start a journal and write an entry that relates to each of the self-growth quotes.
For example, you could look at growth mindset sayings like, “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right” and reflect about all the times you worried about something going wrong but it always went right. Growth mindset phrases like, “There is no failure, only feedback” might remind you of all the great feedback you’ve received recently. What would have happened if you ignored the feedback?
Personal growth quotes or mindset quotes, whatever you like to call them, they’re powerful, and they will change your perspective for the better. Here are 26 of my favourite motivational quotes about growth, including a couple of Carol Dweck mindset quotes. I’ve included a free printable for you to print out at the bottom of this page.
26 of my favourite growth mindset quotes
- Everything you don’t know is something you can learn.
- All things are difficult before they are easy. -Thomas Fuller
- We cannot solve our own problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. -Albert Einstein
- Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. – Unknown
- If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence. – Carol Dweck
- It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default. – J.K. Rowling
- Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.– Joshua J. Marine
- It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. – Confucius
- Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training. – Carol Dweck
- A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it. – Ray Davis
- If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more. – Joyce Meyer
- 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
- Success is not an accident, success is a choice. – Stephen Curry
- Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. – Sherman Finesilver
- There is no failure. Only feedback. – Robert Allen
- Dreams don’t work unless you do. John C. Maxwell
- Effort is grossly underrated. – Gary Vaynerchuk
- I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. – Muhammad Ali
- Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. – Charles Swindoll
- Be so busy improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others. – Chetan Bhagat
- Believe you can and you are halfway there. – Theodore Roosevelt
- Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think! – Albert Einstein
- You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end. – Sidney A. Friedman
- If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot. – Confucius
- Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did.– Mark Twain
Growth mindset words
It’s a great idea to remind yourself of the road you are travelling by reading growth mindset phrases, but don’t forget about the words you use. Whether it’s during daily conversations or internal self-talk, the words we use play a huge role in setting our mindset so if you need to, change your words! For example, you might have said “I am envious of others’ success” when you can change the statement by swapping a word – “I am inspired by others’ success.” Another example is changing “I give up easily when it gets hard” to “I persist despite obstacles.”
Words to add to your growth mindset vocabulary
Swap those fixed mindset words with these growth mindset words. Here are some to add to your vocabulary.
Do yourself a favour and have these growth mindset phrases and growth mindset words on hand for some daily mindset exercise. They’ll give you a good reminder when you need it and encouragement. You can download them below.
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