How To Fail Your Way To Success With A Growth Mindset

growth mindset, fixed mindset, relationships

How To Fail Your Way To Success With A Growth Mindset

Written by: Emilyn Gil 

The secret to a successful life is knowing that it’s all in your mind.

It’s true, but I’m not just talking about your imagination. Think more along the lines of getting yourself into a successful mindset. If you are able to develop the correct mindset about yourself, your personality and the world around you, that’s a one-way ticket to success right there.

The Growth Mindset Vs The Fixed Mindset

The terms growth and fixed mindset were coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in her research, which can be found in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

And understanding the differences between growth and fixed mindsets and the signs of each is the first step to developing a growth mindset for yourself. So let’s get started!

What Is A Fixed Mindset?

Here are the most common traits of a person with a fixed mindset.

Someone with a fixed mindset… 

  • Thinks problems and challenges are roadblocks that keep you from success.
  • Is afraid of failure and does everything in their power to avoid it. Even if that means cheating or not completing a task at all.
  • Believes that intelligence and talents are automatic traits. People are simply born with or without a talent and there isn’t much that you can do to change or improve in these areas.
  • Likes to focus on past achievements. They look to past successes in order to validate themselves and only focus on those things that they are good at.
  • Avoids challenges and new opportunities that require unfamiliar skills.
  • Is afraid to look inferior in front of others.
  • Takes feedback personally and doesn’t like to listen to criticism.
  • Loves taking the easy road. They can get easily frustrated with unfamiliar territory.
  • Tends to give up when something doesn’t go as planned.
  • Feels threatened by other people’s success.
  • Believes great people are born and that successful behavior can’t be learned.


What Is A Growth Mindset?

Now let’s talk about the traits of someone with a growth mindset.

Someone with a growth mindset…

  • Embraces problems as opportunities to learn. Believes challenges are opportunities to improve and learn something new.
  • Loves to practice! They realize that taking a little time to try something new every day can go a long way.
  • Believes new abilities are developed through time and dedication.
  • Loves learning new things. They love walking in unfamiliar territory and trying things they’ve never done before.
  • Believes life is a journey, not a destination.
  • Looks at past failures and achievements to learn from them and be able to do better next time. They know that failure is a part of learning.
  • Doesn’t fear looking inferior to others and understands that as long as they try their hardest, everything will be fine.
  • Learns to accept constructive criticism and seeks it out from leaders and peers.
  • Knows that hard work isn’t always fun, but that putting forth a good effort is the best way to a more fun and successful life.
  • Loves to see others succeed and celebrates with them.
  • Believes that people aren’t born great, but that greatness is learned and practiced over time.
  • Doesn’t give up easily. Understands that challenges are opportunities to figure out new things and that the answer may be to try something new and different.

3 Steps To Developing A Growth Mindset

I hope by this point you are asking yourself, which one am I? Although, as you may have noticed by reading through the descriptions of each mindset, no one has a perfect fixed or growth mindset. Most people have a mixture of both and can switch back and forth depending on the situation.

So how can you continue to develop a growth mindset and train yourself out of a fixed mindset?

1. Find Your Fixed And Growth Patterns

As you consider the two mindsets, go back through the list of traits and think of past experiences and circumstances and whether you reacted with a fixed or growth mindset. Maybe make a list with two columns, writing experiences and examples for both. Start looking for patterns of certain situations or “triggers” that led you to react with a fixed mindset.

From there you can start to consider what you could have done to use more of a growth mindset. The first step to change is always to simply be aware!

2. Understand How The Brain Works

Researchers have found that when people simply believe that personal improvement is possible, then they understand that making an effort DOES make a difference. The brain is malleable just like any other muscle. And just as lifting weights a few reps at a time can help you gain muscle, making little efforts to learn and grow in intelligence and talents will strengthen your brain muscle!

So make sure to celebrate the little achievements and give yourself credit for trying harder today than you did yesterday, because in the long run, that is EXACTLY what counts.

3. Be Patient

I would love it to be true just as much as you would, but the fact is that the most valuable things don’t just happen overnight. The process is going to be SLOW. The sooner you can accept that fact, the sooner your stress and frustration will calm down during the process. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do everything exactly right. You will make mistakes and maybe more than once. So give yourself time to enjoy and learn from the journey and everything will be alright.

How To Encourage A Growth Mindset In Others

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, a leader, a colleague, or a friend, there are simple things that you can do to encourage growth mindset in others as well.

Reward Honest Effort

Learn to praise and reward hard work, whether or not the end result was a complete success. If those around you know that real, honest effort is a good thing, they will have a desire to work harder and produce better results in the future. Otherwise they may be driven to cheat or plagiarize in order to get the grade, raise, or award they’re asking for. Remember to also reward learning and progress, not just half-hearted efforts.

Encourage New Things

Encourage others to develop new skills. Starting something new can be scary and discouraging. But the only way to learn and grow is to step out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never done before. Lots of times wholesome hobbies and successful careers start out simply by trying something new and random!  

Compliment Correctly

How you compliment others has a huge effect on how they perform. If you praise a child’s school project for example by saying, “You’re so smart!” this teaches them that in order to achieve something they have to have certain qualities that may not be available to them. If instead you say “You worked so hard on this and did a great job!” then they learn that it is the effort they put in that brings results. This same type of praise and encouragement can be applied in business or peer situations. Words can go a long way!

Applying Your Growth Mindset In Relationships

That’s right! Fixed and growth mindsets also apply to relationships. Here’s how it works.

Fixed Mindset Relationships

Those with fixed mindsets in a relationship tend to look for someone who puts them on a pedestal and makes them feel perfect. They want a significant other that praises them, looks up to them and loves them passionately.

When conflict arises those with fixed mindsets are all about placing blame, sometimes on themselves, but mostly on the traits of others. Because they believe that traits and personalities can’t change, they believe that the problems can’t be fixed, because neither one can change their nature or personality. They begin to grow a disgust and distaste for the other person and rarely offer forgiveness or believe that the other person can change.

Those with fixed mindsets believe that if a relationship requires effort, that something is wrong and everything will end up falling apart in the end. Relationships should be blissful, full of love and peaceful.

Growth Mindset Relationships

Someone with a growth mindset will look for a partner who helps them be a better person. They look for someone who not only praises their strengths, but also recognizes their weaknesses and loves them enough to offer constructive criticism and help them improve.

When conflicts arise, those with growth mindsets will look at their own actions and faults and search for how they can work to be better for the future. They will discuss with their significant other things that bother them, or ways to work to resolve the problem. They understand that with patience and time, the relationship can be nourished for better.

Those with growth mindsets know that no one has a perfect relationship and problems are opportunities to get better and grow in love. Relationships do take work, but if given enough time, selfless love and dedication to each other, they will ultimately be more rewarding than ever imagined.

Don’t Forget To Practice Your Mind!

The most important thing to remember is that developing a growth mindset takes PRACTICE. Try out some of the advice and tricks above and if you fail, just try again! Remember, failure is just another opportunity to learn and grow.

So let’s get out there and FAIL! Oh, and then succeed too.

Emilyn Gil

Emilyn Gil

Emilyn Gil is a 22 year old English Major at UVU. She started writing at age 6, and since then has won several awards including the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key and was featured in the Kolob Canyon Review in Cedar City. Aside from the written word, her other passions include performing in the occasional musical theater production, and playing piano, guitar, and ukulele. Some of her favorite pastimes are baking, napping, and spending time with family. She likes monkeys, homemade rolls, and the color yellow. She has traveled to Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, and Canada, and currently resides in Orem, Utah with her husband Jorge. You can find more of her work online at or on Instagram at @emilyncan.
Emilyn Gil


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