How to Develop a Growth Mindset (And Slay Life!)


In my younger days, I used to hand out excuses for my shortcomings and failures like I was passing out candy to kids on Halloween. And trash candy too. Like, candy corn or wax soda bottles. Or the dreaded apple (seriously, Karen?). I wish I could take back all of those years of robbing myself. Yes, robbed myself. I spent way more time and energy stroking my ego than putting myself on a path of improvement. That, among other things, is the opposite of a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. Embracing this mindset allows us to face challenges, learn from failures, and continuously improve.

A growth mindset is important because without it, not only will you be stagnant you may even regress in your skillset. Believe it or not, our skills have a “half-life.” Because of a rapidly changing business and technology landscape, your skills become less relevant and marketable. So a growth mindset is vital to your long-term success!

Understanding Growth Mindset

At its core, a growth mindset is about believing in the power of effort and perseverance. Unlike a fixed mindset, which assumes our abilities are static and unchangeable, a growth mindset acknowledges that our talents and skills can be developed over time. This belief opens up a world of possibilities, as it encourages us to see challenges as opportunities for growth, rather than obstacles to avoid.

Have you ever talked to people who just shrug their shoulders when you tell them they’re being a jerk or unprofessional and they say something like, “sorry that’s just who I am. I’m honest.” That’s a static mindset all day. These people believe their fate has been sealed by nature or nurture, or whatever and there’s no chance of breaking their bad habits or unsavory qualities.

But you can change, and you can be better! Here’s how.

Embrace Failure

We will say it until we are blue in the face (and we have mentioned it in numerous, numerous, numerous articles), we love failure and we love challenges! That is your growth zone. A growth mindset begins with understanding growth comes at the point of resistance. You get stronger by lifting weights. You get better cardio and less fat by running. It hurts. But that’s where the growth is. It is precisely the same cognitively.

In a growth mindset, failure is not seen as a verdict on our abilities, but as a stepping stone to success. Instead of dwelling on mistakes and setbacks, individuals with a growth mindset focus on the lessons they can learn from each experience. Embracing failure as a natural part of the learning process helps us develop resilience and perseverance, vital qualities on the path to unlocking our full potential.

The Power of Effort and Persistence

Effort and persistence are central to a growth mindset. People with this mindset understand that achieving greatness requires hard work, dedication, and patience. Instead of being discouraged by initial difficulties, they see effort as a necessary part of the learning process. By acknowledging the value of persistent effort, you can overcome obstacles and make significant progress toward your goals. Remember, growth comes at the point of resistance!

While we are on the subject of persistence, I want to remind folks that consistency is far more important than intensity. We see videos of these athletes doing crazy hard things in workouts and we think “wow if I can bring that kind of intensity, I will get those results!” Negative. You don’t see the pro athletes doing an hour of stretching before that, or light sets of weights. You don’t see them on an exercise bike for 30 minutes slowly ramping up to an intense finish. That intense finish is what people film and put online!

Success is largely dependent on your ability to stay consistent and persistent! A phrase I utter to myself all the time is, “stay in the game.” It doesn’t matter how slow I run, just run. And do it every day. Writing every day, something, anything is vital to my progression as a writer. I do whatever I have to do to stay in the game, because consistency is the golden pathway to success! By the way, here’s an excerpt from my personal journal.

The Obstacle is the Way

My favorite philosopher is the stoic and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. In his book Meditations (which practically makes everyone’s 100 Books you must read before you die lists), Marcus has the following brilliant insight.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

~Marcus Aurelius~

What he is talking about here is people who lament challenges that come their way and why this is the wrong mindset. He is reflecting on the fact that when he looks back on his life, he realizes the hardest problems were the ones who formed him into the man he was. They made him better. And so he has this brilliant notion that obstacles are not in the way of you becoming a better person. The obstacle is the way.

He also imagined someone with this mindset to be like a raging fire. He goes onto write that whatever you throw on a fire, becomes fuel for the fire. Someone with this mindset becomes grateful for obstacles and problems because that means they grow more powerful. What a baller attitude! I’m telling you, Marcus Aurelius was a beast.

By the way, I would 10/10 recommend “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holliday. And also, literally every other book he’s written about stoic philosophy.

A Love of Learning

There’s a saying I came across recently that I love. “The difference between the learned and the learners are the learners will shape the world to come, with the learned will sit idly by pleased with their outdated knowledge and skills.” What a dire, but profound warning!

In a growth mindset, learning becomes a lifelong journey rather than a destination. Embrace a love for learning and seek out new knowledge and experiences regularly. Stay open to feedback, be willing to adapt, and consistently seek ways to improve. By nurturing a love for learning, you foster continuous growth and development in all areas of your life.

Never. Stop. Learning! Remember, if you’re not moving forwards you are getting left behind.

Profound change often starts with a shift in attitude. One of the first things you need to realize is you can change. You can break bad habits. You are not a slave to your worst tendencies; you control your destiny.

Erik Murrah

Author, nerd, chess player, artist, business owner, runner, mediocre philosopher, outdoorsman. Creator of the Arise Tribe.

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