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. We’ve pulled together 13 growth mindset activities for adults, to help you learn and grow!
The benefits of a growth mindset
First, let’s be clear about the benefits of 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 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 13 growth mindset activities!
13 growth mindset activities for adults
We’ve structured these 13 activities into 4 categories:
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 3 great activities that can become part of your daily routine.
1. 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!
2. 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’.
3. Ask big, open questions. 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!
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.
4. 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!
5. 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.
6. Improve our 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.
7. Teach back these insights. A great way to consolidate your learning is to share it with others. 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 do this with your team, your friends or your family. And it could be done in a more structured, formal way, or just quite informally as discussion topic in a casual setting. Either way you’ll benefit from sharing what you’ve learnt!
Use reflective activities to consolidate your learning
As you learn, consolidate the learning with 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
8. 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?
9. 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.
10. 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.
Try a little ‘playful learning’!
Trying new things and enjoying the experience is all part of a growth mindset. It’s important to remember that you can learn to do anything you want! However, growth mindset activities for adults don’t have to be too serious, and they don’t always have to have a clear purpose.
Take some time to play and have fun too. Here are some activities that you might want to explore:
11. 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, and sudoku for beginners is a satisfying challenge to embrace.
12. 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.
13. Be inspired by the success of others. Here’s a story about Tony Hsieh at Zappos to get you started. 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.
Growth mindset activities for adults in summary
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. Reflect on what you’ve learnt. Maybe drop one activity and add another. Play with this idea of learning and growth, enjoy it.
Here’s a quick summary:
Activities that integrate into your daily work
- Seek feedback
- Use positive language
- Ask big, open questions
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
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
And most importantly, enjoy the journey as you strengthen your growth mindset!