How to Visualize a Growth Mindset

20 statements to help you see things differently

Jeremy Sutton, PhD
Published in
4 min readApr 20, 2021


Photo: Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Unless you’ve been off the planet for the past five years, you’re probably aware of the importance of adopting a “growth mindset” — or at least you’ve heard the term. Researcher Carol Dweck’s influential TED Talk and her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success emphasize the importance of the growth mindset. But simply adopting this way of seeing the world is easier said than done. Integral to a growth mindset is an acceptance of neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to make new connections and reorganize synaptic connections.

A growth mindset is about adopting an outlook that says “I can become smarter, more intelligent, and more talented by investing my time and effort.” Someone with a “fixed” mindset, on the other hand, believes that our abilities are relatively static — you either have it or you don’t.

The crux is whether you view the brain as fixed or malleable. And it matters because the mindset you adopt can lead to a marked difference in your approach to life and your mental well-being.

If you see intelligence and talent as unchanging, you are unlikely to put in the effort to develop. But if you see room for growth, you will invest your energies into achieving more ambitious goals.

Ultimately, those with a growth mindset achieve more of what they want and succeed more often when the rest of us have already given up. They also experience less anxiety, depression, and perfectionism.

As Dweck is quick to point out, it’s not enough to tell yourself you can improve.

Here are three key elements:

  1. You can’t simply say “I am optimistic and flexible in my thinking.” It’s something you must do.
  2. Praising and rewarding productive effort is not enough. You must also maintain a focus on the outcome.
  3. Saying to yourself and others that a growth mindset is the right thing to do, but you must back it up…



Jeremy Sutton, PhD
Writer for

Positive & performance psychologist, University of Liverpool lecturer, Owner/Coach