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The Key Qualities of The Growth Mindset

Let’s look at the key qualities of the growth mindset, what a growth mindset is, and its pros and cons.

Could the conservative side of you be preventing you from taking action? Do you believe that growth is possible or that you’re bound to be a certain way forever? If so, you might like to learn about the growth mindset.

This mindset is an archetype that reflects how we view ourselves and our abilities. Knowledge of it will help you identify when you’re shooting yourself in the foot and enable you to make empowering changes. This concept comes from Carol Dweck, who studied it in her classic book Mindset.

The beauty of this simple concept lies in its explanatory power. Having a growth disposition has a clear impact on our results and life trajectory. It leads to predictable differences in our behaviour, actions and life experiences.

People with a growth mindset tend to have better relationships, a higher capacity for learning and an ability to use criticism to their advantage. Fortunately, while we tend to have it or not, we aren’t inherently growth-minded or not, and we can actively adopt its key qualities, behaviours, habits and thought patterns.

Time to look at the growth mindset.

Qualities of The Growth Mindset

The cornerstone of the growth mentality is the belief that our qualities are malleable and that we can learn, grow and improve.

Some tell-tale signs of this mentality are a keen interest in learning and asking questions, an emphasis on volume of practice and level of dedication over innate talent, and an attitude of exploration and curiosity.

The growth-minded person essentially sees their level of competence to depend on the number of hours spent practicing and honing, rather than on luck, genes or their inherent nature. Whether I am able tomorrow depends on the blood lost, sweat spilled and tears shed today.

Their focus is on practice – hours, days, weeks, months and years spent learning, applying and grafting. They take solace in practice, knowing that it marks their path to glory. And in the best of examples, it is done without expectation or impatience, but with poise, peace and purpose. The master loves the practice – it’s his favourite chair.

Rather than avoiding errors, the growth-minded person treasures them. Every error, if it informs us, is a step in the right direction. So they are willing to get their hands dirty, make mistakes and create failure.

The growth-mindset person tends to believe their potential is unknowable. They look back at their previous selves, wonder at their own transformation, and look forward with joy and excitement at who they could become.

four key qualities of the growth mindset

Now let’s look at the good and bad of the growth mindset.

Qualities of the Growth Mindset: Gifts and Gremlins

This way of thinking is great, but it has its weaknesses. We’ll cover those after the gifts.


Perhaps the greatest advantage of this mentality is that it’s fundamentally empowering. It brings a can-do attitude, even in the face of immense obstacles.

The growth-mindset person is ready to roll up their sleeves and jump in, scoffing at objections and calls for realism. They bypass any apparent blocks by simply working hard. Persistence and patience is the name of the game, regardless of the task at hand. They can go from zero to hero in a number of pursuits, much to the astonishment of reluctant bystanders.

And this way of thinking opens our mental doors and has us shoot for levels of competence and flourishing far beyond our current level. This means our potential excites us rather than scaring us, and we relish the challenge of realising it in the real world.


People automatically assume that this mentality trumps all. But it does have a pernicious side, and when left to its own devices it may become pathological. Let’s see why that is.

Well, an excessive, insatiable thirst for growth may mean that we never feel fulfilled. We see our current self to be in need of constant improvement.

In fact, it could be that we strive for growth precisely because we lack self-esteem. Outwardly, our disposition for growth is fruitful and productive, but beneath it are rotten inner foundations. We work so hard trying to climb the mountain that we forget to look inside and cultivate unconditional self-love. And in the individualistic West, we are apt to venerate this mentality given that the working of our society virtually rests on it.

We may forget to celebrate our victories and appreciate what has come before, instead opting to chase further advancement in an attempt to fill that hole inside of us. You have to wonder, if all that expansion does nothing for your contentment, why even bother with it?

How To Cultivate A Healthy Mentality: The Key Qualities

The growth mindset is wonderful, but we should recognise its downside and incorporate them. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes.

Growth, growth, growth with no inner care and no actual increase in fulfilment is pointless. But a lack of it can equally strip us of life force and leave us stuck in a never-ending rut.

So, flexibility is the name of the game, and ultimately our inner dials should allow us to incline towards expansion when required and retain the ability to contract too.

If you’re stuck with an unhealthy lack of the growth mindset, try cultivating the opposite by looking at successful people and imitating their mentality, habits and routines. Also turn inside and ask why you believe you’re fundamentally limited. Perhaps some deep inner work is required to unearth those disempowering assumptions and hardened thought patterns.

There’s more – check out my episode on the growth and fixed mindset.