Culture & Lifestyle / It’s All In The Mind: Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness

It’s All In The Mind: Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness

Culture & Lifestyle Jun 05, 2019

Growth mindset. A buzz word (or better yet concept) that keeps popping up but what exactly does it mean? Is it beneficial? How do we cultivate it? Get ready to grow your mind as we break it down for you in this piece!  Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness 

What is a growth mindset?  

Though it’s certainly not as old Ancient Indian traditions such as yoga and meditation that we’ve highlighted in the past, the concept of a growth mindset isn’t brand new either. It came to light by Dr. Carol Dweck who was studying the behavior of children in learning settings around 30 years ago.

Dweck became interested in why some children would step back in the face of a setback while others continued to persevere. Dweck’s research found that there are two mindsets: fixed and growth. Both are around a belief system that we take towards learning and intelligence.

Fixed mindset: When we believe intelligence is static or inherent.

Growth mindset: When we believe intelligence can be developed through effort. Growth mindset also corresponds with what brain plasticity (neuroscience) now shows us; that the neural circuits in our brains can be strengthened/developed with continued/repeated practice.


Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness
Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness: Elements of fixed and growth mindset. We all have experiences with both. Photo Credit:


An important point to note, is that we now recognize human beings experience both mindsets. In some setbacks we will step back and in others we will step forward; the goal is to recognize when we are navigating in a state of fixed mind-set and make conscious effort to change it to growth.

Why change it? What are some of the benefits of a growth mindset?

It can help us be more patient with ourselves: Failure can be frustrating; it’s a human experience to at some point try something new, fail or not be as good as expected at it and feel insecure about trying it again.  With a growth mindset we understand that not all talents are innate and it’s of no benefit to put pressure on ourselves or think we will succeed at everything right away. We believe that through hard-work, an openness to learn and input from others, we can develop and strengthen our talents overtime making us more inclined to be less critical and more loving towards during challenges, setbacks or failures.

Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness
Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness: Growth mindset creates space for mistakes and improvement. Photo Credit:

It can help us move past perfection: In a growth mindset we understand there’s an infinite field of possibilities and potential. That being said, it becomes easier to detach from the idea of perfection because there’s no hard-stop to any skill or achievement. When we accept there’s always opportunity to grow, we can elevate our patterns of thought to accept that perfection is not something we need to strive for because it doesn’t truly exist.

It can help curb our tendency for unhealthy competition: Comparison is the thief of joy. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit of human nature especially in South Asian cultures where it can feel like we are being pitted against each other from childhood. When we move from the scarcity model to abundant thinking, we feel less competitive with others because we recognize there’s enough ample opportunity to succeed (someone buying a huge new home doesn’t mean you can’t/won’t have one too so check your jealousy at the door and celebrate the success of other people).

What are some steps we can take to action a growth mindset?

Check-in with yourself: As mentioned, mindsets move on a continuum but you can still increase awareness on where you are; access a free Growth Mindset Assessment here (email address is required).

Take deep breathes: When you feel like you failed or something isn’t going as planned, channel the frustration you feel into focusing on taking deep, mindful breathes; it is scientifically proven to help during moments of stress. It will create space for you to develop more patience and remember the purpose of your actions (growth). Taking a pause can also increase productivity.

Reflect on what you’re learning: A second step to above (that can be applied in moments of positivity as well) is to take a few moments to acknowledge what you’re learning while it’s happening. In the business world, some organizations highlight ‘lessons learned’ activities after a project is completed and those are great but it’s also beneficial to do while the skill is being learned or as part of the process.

Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness
Why A Growth Mindset Is Key To Mindfulness: Let’s teach the next generation it’s healthy to ask for help! Photo credit: 


Seek support: There are a few ways you can get help for your growth and each one involves recognizing that seeking support is actually a sign of strength. Connect with people who may be learning the same skill you are or having the same challenge (for example, if you’ve decided the skill you want to grow is discipline and the action you’ve chosen is to run 5km every day, join a running club). See someone that’s crushing it? Instead of comparing yourself to them, reach out to them and turn your competitive energy into an appreciative one, you may even get advice or mentorship from them!

Empower yourself through seeking education: Instead of thinking about what you want to learn about or a new skill you want to develop, start taking action. For example, if you’re curious to expand your knowledge on growth mindset or neuroscience, take the step of watching this Ted Talk by Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve.


Main Image Photo Credit:

Rachna Sethi

Rachna Sethi


Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...