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5 Simple Principles People with Growth Mindset Use to Respond to Challenges

Do you overthink everything? Before acting, do you chronically procrastinate? Do you find yourself quickly discouraged by difficulties or challenges? Or are you too easily deterred from achieving personal and professional goals with feelings of overwhelm?

If you're nodding yes, you may be framing experiences through the lens of a fixed mindset.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A woman surrounded by large canvases with writing, symbolizing many different ways to view life.

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Failure Mindset versus a Growth Mindset

The fixed mindset (sometimes called the failure mindset) can be immensely discouraging. It can cause a person to back away from challenges or be reluctant to learn new skills. Setbacks and mistakes are often seen as failures rather than as part of a natural learning process.

In contrast, a growth mindset perceives challenges and setbacks as opportunities for personal development and learning. Therefore, this perspective has inherent resilience built in that keeps us encouraged.

When a person with a growth mindset is faced with challenges, they’re not viewed as insurmountable obstacles, but encountered with confidence and an influx of excitement and adventure-seeking.


Because they believe they’re equipped to handle challenges and their focus and effort will influence the results.

Unfortunately, many people operate under a fixed mindset—the belief that their abilities, intelligence, and talents are static and unchangeable. You either have it or you don’t! No matter how much effort you exert, it doesn’t affect the outcome. The limiters are fixed and determine success—or not.

People with a Growth Mindset—Check Out the Benefits of a Growth Mindset!

I used to live by a fixed mindset. It seemed like others had what it took for happiness, success, and thriving relationships, but I was stuck, handcuffed to a truckload of pain and an empty toolbox. I was on a hamster wheel of chronic procrastination and often paralyzed by conflict.

Then, I met a lifelong friend: the growth mindset.

It was a liberating realization that MY focus, effort, and application of knowledge could dramatically influence outcomes both professionally and personally.

My past trauma didn’t have to control me; I could heal.

My lack of people skills didn’t have to limit me; I could learn and practice new ones.

My fear and missing emotional intelligence could be sculpted into fearlessness and mastery.

The spark of curiosity fueled my new outlook. The growth mindset was a game-changer for me, and perhaps it will empower you, too. A perspective of life-long learning (instead of an arrival point) dramatically transforms the way we interact with life.

Single man walking in the desert dunes of the Wahiba Sand Desert

How to Change a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

It's not uncommon for depressed people to describe their emptiness like a desert. Depression may be one of life's greatest challenges to overcome. I still remember in my twenties how desolate I felt inside when depressed. It's also common when we seek growth and healing for the journey to seem endless, like walking alone across a wide expanse of desert dunes.

Recently, I came across the quote below from the movie Dune. (My husband and I are big sci-fi fans and can't wait to see Dune, Part II.)

“Everything remains mobile in the desert or perishes.”

Certainly true for the desert.

Equally good advice for anyone seeking growth.

What we don’t exercise, we lose. True for the body’s muscles; and true for our brains!

Action and movement are vital ingredients to change, grow, learn, and transform ourselves. Far too often, people stop at knowledge without action; only by applying what we learn do we change.

Fast-forward to my present life: I've been happily married for decades, have incredible business relationships and friendships, am a mother to three amazing humans, have a successful business, and have inner peace and joy as constant companions.

How did I do it?

I kept moving. I didn't give up. I remained mobile, one step at a time. Then, my desert blossomed.

The growth mindset allows us to keep moving, keep growing. 

If I can retrain my brain from a fixed mindset, so can you!

Why Is It Important to Change Your Mindset?

In our rapidly changing world, maintaining a fixed mindset can seriously hinder personal and professional growth as well as business success. The inability to adapt and grow can leave you frustrated and feeling stagnant, watching as others around you continue to evolve and succeed.

As in Dune, we’ll be devoured by the giant sandworms in the desert if we don't keep moving and growing. We must strategically walk through our personal growth journey as the Freman shimmied in the desert—thoughtfully, with agility and heightened awareness of their surroundings. They honed their strength and skills, conserving water and learning to ride the sandworms. 

The essential strategies below strengthen a growth mindset. When you are confronted with challenges, these tactics will spark the ability to learn and transform your overall approach to challenges.

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5 Must-Have Principles to Develop a Growth Mindset and Achieve Your Goals

Developing a growth mindset is possible through intentional practice and the simple principles below. I said “simple,” not easy! By practicing these principles, you will begin to reshape the way you approach learning and challenges, leading to a more fulfilling and productive life.

Pick one that you relate to the most and practice it every day. Once it’s a habit, pick another.

Those with a growth mindset live by these principles.

Learn the skill of cognitive reframing.Approach Challenges with Curiosity and Enthusiasm

Challenges are vital opportunities for growth—to stretch ourselves and build emotional and mental muscles that improve the quality of our lives. When faced with a difficult task, instead of fighting with it or avoiding it, embrace it with the intention to learn. Approach each new challenge with curiosity and openness, which are hallmarks of a growth mindset.

HRT_Blog_Bullet_Template_1023_Design2_FINAL2Persist in the Face of Setbacks 

Setbacks are inevitable in all improvement or learning. Instead of viewing them as defeats, see them as integral parts of the learning curve. When you encounter failure, don’t give up—fall and fail forward. To be inspired,  listen to Denzel Washington's motivational speech about failing forward.

Be creative and find ways to persevere. Analyze what went wrong, adjust your strategies, and try again with renewed vigor. Cultivating resilience through persistent efforts is key to developing a growth mindset.

Focus on creativity and improvement rather than perfection.Make Your Effort the Path to Mastery

Success isn’t an overnight phenomenon. It’s the result of small, consistent efforts of dedication. Each effort you make builds EQ skills and brings you one step closer to mastery.

I didn’t change overnight, but one thing I consistently did was take action every day toward greater mastery—sometimes small steps, other times big ones. I practiced mindfulness faithfully. And now, looking back, it’s hard to comprehend how dramatically my life has changed with self-compassion and small hacks.

HRT_Blog_Bullet_Template_1023_Design2_FINAL4Welcome Feedback and Learn from Criticism

Use constructive criticism as a tool for learning and self-improvement. Rather than defensively reacting to feedback, ask questions and seek to understand how you can grow from it. Developing an openness toward others’ feedback allows you to thrive and adapt more quickly.

HRT_Blog_Bullet_Template_1023_Design2_FINAL5Learn from the Lessons and Successes of Others

When others succeed, instead of harboring jealousy, look for lessons and inspiration.

Researching and emulating the success strategies of others can provide a blueprint for your own growth. Read about how people struggled and overcame great odds. Immerse yourself in the specific ways they viewed their challenges and what qualities helped them to succeed.

Celebrate the achievements of others! They represent the potential for growth and success available to everyone.

Related Reading: A Fixed Mindset Versus a Growth Mindset.

Closing Thoughts

By adopting these principles, you’ll cultivate a more positive and resilient mindset.

Each step you take in embracing challenges, persisting through setbacks, valuing effort, learning from criticism, and finding inspiration in others’ successes, paves the way toward transforming your entire approach to life and learning.

Looking for more?

We can help guide you from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

If you want more ways to transform your mindset from fixed to one of growth, check out Heartmanity’s EQ course and coaching programs.  

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Jennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence CoachJennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence Coach
Jennifer is the Heartmanity founder and an emotional intelligence expert. She has two decades of EQ experience and is the author of emotional intelligence training and courses. As an emotional fitness coach, Jennifer teaches EQ skills, brain science hacks, and a comprehensive approach that gets results. She is happily married and the mother of three incredible grown children.

Posted in Emotional Intelligence & Fitness

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