We’ve pulled together 17 growth mindset activities for adults, to help you develop a growth mindset, and to share with your team too!
Growth mindset first emerged when Carol Dweck wrote her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, back in 2006. Her original research focused on the impact of growth mindset on children’s development and since then the corporate world has embraced growth mindset too.
The benefits of developing a growth mindset
First, let’s be clear about the benefits of developing a growth mindset. Dweck distinguishes between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Carol Dweck
Research has confirmed that developing a growth mindset offers you many benefits, including:
- Feeling more comfortable taking personal risks and striving for more stretching goals
- Higher levels of personal motivation
- Enhanced brain development across wider ranges of tasks
- Lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression
- Improved work relationships
- Higher levels of performance
With all these benefits front and center, let’s now look at our 17 growth mindset activities!
17 growth mindset activities for adults
We’ve structured these 17 activities into 5 categories:
Develop a growth mindset with new activities and ‘playful learning’!
Trying new things and enjoying the experience is central to a growth mindset. Stepping forward to enjoy new activities will make it easier to embrace change in all its forms.
New experiences don’t have to be too serious, and they don’t always have to have a clear purpose. Just find opportunities to enjoy doing new things!
Here are some activities that you might want to explore:
1. Playful learning. Learn to draw, or juggle, or do Sudoku, or anything else that intrigues you! If there’s one of these activities that you’ve never done before, give it a go! Learning a 3-ball juggle takes anywhere between 20-60 mins for most people (search for a YouTube video as your guide). Learning to draw cartoon faces is fun (plenty of YouTube videos on that topic too!), and sudoku for beginners is a satisfying challenge to embrace.
2. Refresh your routine. If you usually cook, try and cook something you’ve never tried before. Or if you have a regular walk around your neighborhood, try doing it in reverse, or exploring some new avenues. Or pick up a new newspaper. Anything that shakes up your day a little with new activities.
3. Try a 30-day challenge. Extend the fun into a 30-day challenge. This is a great way to establish a new habit as part of your commitment to a growth mindset.
4. Be inspired by the success of others. Learning about and celebrating the success of others is a great way to embrace your growth mindset. But it doesn’t have to be famous names. Look around you, who are the people in your network that inspire you? Spend more time with them.
Be willing to step forward into new challenges. It’s might seem daunting at first (you might want to start small), but the more you embrace new activities, the more you’ll grow!
Make curiosity and growth part of your daily work
One of the simplest ways to get started is to integrate growth mindset activities into your daily work. Here are 4 great activities that can become part of your daily routine.
5. Seek feedback. This gets straight to the heart of cultivating a growth mindset and is integral to your development, “feedback is constructive!”. Take the time to look at how to request feedback from your coworkers it provides a step-by-step guide to make seeking feedback part of you daily routine. Use the feedback to learn and grow!
6. Use positive language. Take a look at these positive language examples. The language we use reinforces our thinking, if you can get into the habit of using this positive language it will help you to cultivate a positive attitude (which is integral to a growth mindset!). It’s all about cultivating ‘learned optimism’.
7. Be curious. Asking big, open questions is a really strong foundation for a growth mindset. It’s a great way to cultivate your curiosity, it encourages those around you to share their thoughts and gives you the opportunity to learn. Of course, you need to be able to listen to the answer too!
8. Practice listening. Show your interest in others by becoming a better listener. Take the time to explore these 8 tips to improve your listening skills, or take inspiration from the Chinese character for listening.
Learn more about growth mindset and develop related skills
In addition to your daily activities, take a little time to learn more about growth mindset and the skills that help to support this mindset.
9. Explore neuroplasticity, the biological foundation for growth mindset. If you’re not familiar with the basics of neuroplasticity, it’s worth taking a quick look. Our brain has the capacity to grow and strengthen itself based on how we think!
10. Learn to learn. With your understanding of neuroplasticity as a foundation, take the opportunity to develop your capabilities. Learning to learn is a great activity to strengthen your growth mindset, take a look at this online course from coursera.org: learn how to learn.
11. Improve your memory. Another great investment is to improve your memory. This makes it easier to acquire other skills and has a lot of other benefits too. Try this mindvalley masterclass.
12. Teach back these insights. A great way to consolidate your learning is to share it with others. You might start by sharing the growth mindset / fixed mindset model with your team! This creates the opportunity for you to reflect on what you have learnt, consolidate key insights and clarify the practical benefits of the learning.
You could start by sharing this video with your team:
Use reflective growth mindset activities to consolidate your learning
As you learn, consolidate your learning with structured self-reflection. Reflection is such an important part of learning (and is often forgotten or missed in our ‘always on’ world). And reflection is especially important when cultivating mindset!
Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. Peter Drucker
13. Schedule daily or weekly reflection. Some people prefer to find 10-15 mins at the end of each day, some people prefer to schedule 30 mins each Friday morning. Consider what will work best for you, then stick with it (though if you miss one or two sessions, go easy on yourself too!).
Reflect on some simple questions:
- When did I have a closed mindset, and why?
- When did I have an open mindset, and why?
- What have I learnt about myself, as a result?
- What will I do differently next time?
14. Keep a diary. This is a natural extension of daily reflection. Keeping a diary will allow you to look back for connections, patterns, etc, to further develop your self-awareness and learning. The diary doesn’t have to be a daily activity, and it doesn’t have to be an onerous commitment, just take a little time to make some notes during your reflection.
15. Enjoy some quiet discussion. Who do you feel most comfortable sharing your thoughts with? It could be a trusted colleague, family member, or life partner. Finding the right person and enjoying some quiet sharing can be a useful tool that consolidates the value of all the above activities. Introduce the model, share your thoughts, ask them the reflective questions… learn through sharing and discussion!
Very few people stop and think about their purpose. We’re all too busy to stop and think about the bigger picture. However, clarifying the ‘why’ in your life can be a powerful motivation to grow.
16. Find purpose in your work. It might be that serving your team gives you purpose, or the role your company plays in society, or the personal tasks you have to complete. Whatever you do, you can choose to see it as ‘just work’, or you can choose to see it as having a bigger purpose.
17. Reflect on how you want to be remembered as a leader. Writing down your desired leadership legacy, in the form of a eulogy, is a powerful growth mindset activity. It will give you the inspiration to learn, grow and strive towards this goal.
How to integrate growth mindset activities into your daily life
Take a little time to reflect on this list of growth mindset activities for adults. Pick out 2-3 activities that you find most appealing and try them out. As you’re planning how to integrate them into your daily life, consider the following:
- How can I integrate these activities into my existing routines?
- What will be the best time of day / week to adopt these activities?
- What potential barriers will I need to overcome to build these activities into my routine?
As you’re integrating these activities, reflect on what you’ve learnt.
Maybe drop one activity and add another.
Play with this idea of learning and growth, enjoy it.
The goal of these growth mindset activities
These growth mindset activities are not the goal in themselves (though they can certainly be enjoyable and positive experiences).
The purpose of these activities is to practice the growth mindset behaviors that will help you succeed in times of change and challenge.
These growth mindset behaviors include:
- Believing that you can cultivate your skills, and putting in the work to do so
- Focusing on learning, as an integral part of your daily routine
- Recognizing that hard work leads to success, and persevering in the face of adversity
- Asking for feedback, and learning and improving based on the feedback
- Recognizing that as you change mistakes will occur, and learning from your mistakes
Growth mindset is particularly valuable during times of change and challenge, but only if it supports these growth mindset behaviors.
The 17 activities outlined above help you practice these growth mindset behaviors, in a fun and risk-free way, so that you have them when you really need them.
Growth mindset activities for adults in summary
Here’s a quick summary of the growth mindset activities.
Relax and have a little fun with it!
- Learn to draw, or juggle, or do Sudoku, or anything else that intrigues you!
- Try a 30-day challenge
- Be inspired by the success of others
- Bring ‘newness’ to your regular activities
Activities that integrate into your daily work
- Seek feedback
- Use positive language
- Be curious
- Practice listening
Learning about growth mindset and develop related skills
- Explore neuroplasticity
- Learn to learn
- Improve your memory
- Teach back these insights
Use reflective activities to consolidate your learning
- Schedule daily or weekly reflection
- Keep a diary
- Enjoy some quiet discussion, to share and reflect on what you’ve learnt
- Find purpose in your work
- Reflect on how you want to be remembered as a leader
And one final tip as you strengthen your growth mindset. Growth is not just about acquisitive learning. In our rapidly changing world a growth mindset requires that we learn, unlearn and relearn too!
I’m at my best when helping people to learn, grow and succeed. This might be facilitating a training program, coaching a colleague, or sharing advice with my kids. I’m also an introvert by nature, and love to read, reflect and write. Hence this blog!