10 signs you’ve cultivated a growth mindset without even realizing it

Some people think that if they aren’t extremely talented or if the right opportunity isn’t staring them in the face, they simply don’t have what it takes to reach their goals.

Others believe that talent and luck are only starting points. It is hard work and dedication that ultimately get you there.

The first have a rigid mindset, the latter a growth mindset.

Of course, a growth mindset is much preferable overall because it allows us to evolve, grow in new directions, and learn more about ourselves. And some of us don’t even realize we have it until we learn what it is!

Have you cultivated a growth mindset without even realizing it? These are the 10 signs.

1) You believe that if you work hard enough, you will get there

You’re a firm believer in working hard, not giving up, and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.

You know there are people out there who are more talented than you. But you also know that if that talent isn’t put to work, its potential goes unfulfilled.

A little bit of talent that is continuously honed is much better than a lot of talent that is left to rot.

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes approximately ten thousand hours to become an expert at something. Even if you have a musical ear or if you’re the best actor at your theatre club, you need to practice, practice, and practice some more.

The fact that you inherently understand this idea is the first sign you have a growth mindset.

2) You don’t give up easily

So, you work hard to achieve your goals. That one’s ticked off.

The next sign on our list is the fact that once you get to work, you don’t give up all that easily.

Challenges don’t deter you. Setbacks don’t bring you down. No matter how many times you stumble and fall, you always pick yourself back up and keep going because you know that obstacles are part of the process.

A bump in the road is nothing compared to your vision. And so you keep pursuing your dreams with relentless drive.

3) You view obstacles as stepstones, not setbacks

The reason you can handle obstacles pretty well is that you don’t consider them to be massive problems that set your journey back.

On the contrary, you know that those obstacles are an important part of the journey itself.

And that’s because success never comes without pitfalls. Have you ever heard of a successful person who never struggled?


Obstacles are part of success in the same way that Monday is part of a week – you can’t hope they’ll simply go away or not show up in the first place. All you can do is expect them, and once they arrive at the scene, welcome them with open arms.

And then work hard to overcome them.

4) Your goals aren’t fixed in stone

We’ve spoken a great deal about achieving one’s goals so far, and that’s all good and well – as long as you know that even goals can shift over time.

The growth mindset isn’t just about hard work. It’s also about flexibility and curiosity.

When you have a growth mindset, you understand that you will inevitably evolve in the following years and that the thing you want now may not be the same thing you want in five years.

And that’s okay. You never know what your life will bring – your priorities may change, you may meet new friends, move to a different country, or end up working a job you wouldn’t have ever imagined for yourself – and there’s a certain beauty to that.

Your approach to goal-setting reflects that. While you work hard to pursue your current goals, you’re keeping your mind open to anything unexpected that might happen in the future.

5) You celebrate small milestones

pic1527 10 signs you’ve cultivated a growth mindset without even realizing it

Growth doesn’t just happen overnight. What’s more, though, true growth isn’t about those big moments when it all comes together and you feel on cloud nine.

True growth is about the everyday.

It’s what happens when you sit down to work even though you really don’t feel like it, when you get up early to go to the gym, or when you pass a small milestone that signals you’re already one-third through your monthly goal.

And if you’ve cultivated a growth mindset, there’s a high likelihood you celebrate those milestones.

No, I’m not saying you throw a party every time you write a new chapter, lose one kilogram, or get a new business sale (although feel free to do so).

But each time you pass a milestone, you acknowledge it. You smile to yourself. And you bask in that feeling of pride, gratitude, and satisfaction for a little while.

That’s all it takes to kickstart your motivation yet again and keep you on track.

6) You ask for help when you need it

We like to think that we can do it all on our own.

The Western culture is very much about individualism, and while that comes with its own perks, it’s not always in our best interest to think of ourselves as wholly independent entities that don’t need anybody else.

Humans are social beings. We learn by sharing information. We evolve by offering each other a helping hand. We connect by telling stories, trading, and asking questions.

The best thing you can do for your growth is to ask for help when you need it.

And if you have a growth mindset, that idea isn’t all that surprising to you because that’s exactly what you’ve been doing already.

If you don’t know something, you ask questions. If you have a friend who could really help you out with something, you ask whether he has some time to spare.

You know that sometimes, you really shouldn’t go it alone. Sometimes, another person’s help is exactly what you need to grow even faster.

7) You embrace criticism

Help comes in the most unexpected of ways – including criticism.

I really enjoy getting criticism. Not because it makes me feel good, mind you. It doesn’t. No one likes negative feedback.

But every time someone critiques my work or my behavior, it gives me an opportunity to reflect and get to know myself better, which in turn helps me improve my craft or evolve as a person.

Having a growth mindset means embracing criticism as something that helps you rather than hinders you. And even if it’s delivered through words as sharp as daggers, you’re able to filter out the hurt and digest the information you need.

8) You’re all about inspiration instead of envy

Since you believe that working on your goals will eventually get you to your destination, you have no reason to envy people who have already gotten there.

In fact, you find them endlessly inspiring because if they can do it, you can, too. They are proof that your dreams can manifest in the real world, no matter how ambitious.

And what’s more, many successful people actually get to share a lot of useful advice, which brings us back to one of the previous points – seeking advice and help from those who have completed the journey before you isn’t a weakness. It’s called being smart.

People who are worried they’ll never fulfill their potential envy those who have done so. 

People who believe they will get there, though, will use all the advice and tools at their disposal to speed up the process.

9) You welcome uncertainty with open arms

This is a hard one.

Uncertainty is terrifying. We like to be in control of our lives. We like to go to sleep and feel assured that we’ll wake up in the same bed.

But life is full of uncertainty, which is why embracing it is the best thing you can do. You don’t know where you’ll be a year or five years from now. But you do know that all you can focus on, all you can influence, is today.

As you are reading these words, you are in the one and only moment you have control over.

And if you have a growth mindset, you will make today count while also accepting the fact that the future is beyond your control.

10) You’re not afraid to be a beginner

Finally, your life is long and full of new opportunities. People with a growth mindset don’t like to stagnate. They don’t want to repeat the same loop of the same activities week after week, year after year.

But in order to do something different, you’ve got to be willing to be a beginner. This sounds simple enough, but becoming a beginner goes hand in hand with inexperience, ignorance, and challenge, which can do a number on your self-esteem.

And so if you embrace starting new things and learning new skills from scratch, no matter how challenging or embarrassing, it means you’ve cultivated a growth mindset without even realizing it.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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