growth mindset and resilience

How Does a Growth Mindset Help Build Resilience

Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from something bad that happens. So let’s take a closer look at how a growth mindset can help build resilience!

A growth mindset is an idea that people can change and develop new skills, which in turn will develop their resilience. A person with a fixed mindset would see themselves as not being able to change, and so are more susceptible to stressors because they believe change will be impossible for them.

A growth mindset can be developed through a number of different things, including practice. Research by Carol Dweck and Miranda Gray has shown that a growth mindset can help improve achievement in school and the workplace.

In this study, participants who were told that skilled learners are capable of learning new things showed higher scores on performance tests than those who were told that “smart” people are good at tasks. Thus, by thinking about yourself as being able to learn new skills, you will improve your resilience.

When you practice in a growth mindset, you acknowledge that difficult tasks are only a challenge when you do not have the skills to do them well. It is a mindset that acknowledges your abilities and abilities are something that can be developed!

While this article focuses on resilience and resilience building, we hope you see how this relates to our goals as well! If we look at the section Goals, again it could easily be rephrased as “Resilience is not something that comes before our actual goals”.

What is the growth mindset?

The growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. This is in contrast with the fixed mindset which believes that intelligence is something you are born with and unchangeable. Basically, a person will either have a fixed or growth mindset.

Most people have a fixed mindset about themselves and their abilities. It is what could be called the back of the ‘S’ on our Resilient Self belief, where we think we are destined to be “this way”, and will never change, or develop new skills.

With a fixed mindset, we would see that trying to change would be detrimental as we believe it will lead us to fail. We also don’t believe in our ability to learn something new and different.

A small percentage of people have a growth mindset. These people believe they can change and develop new skills. They have the ability to see failure as an opportunity to improve, and not something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

How does a growth mindset help build resilience?

If we start with this foundation of belief about ourselves and our abilities, then we are more likely to succeed. We will try new tasks, take risks, follow our curiosity and help others around us. We see that we can see an opportunity for growth instead of feeling confined by what we think we are “destined” to become.


When you believe in your ability to grow and develop new skills, you will have more motivation and persistence in reaching your goals. The idea of “I must keep trying until I succeed” is a key component here.

When we believe that our abilities can be developed and changed, we have the motivation to learn or develop. We are willing to work hard in order to improve! We don’t give up when things get tough, and try again!

This is another aspect of our Resilience building – We are not a ‘one size fits all’ person. We don’t believe we will be bad at something and so we don’t try to improve, but instead quit.

View of Failure

With a growth mindset, you see failure as an opportunity to improve yourself! Now failure is not something that needs to be avoided at all costs. You go into it with the belief that you can learn and develop new skills, which will help you become more resilient.

This means that you will start thinking about how you can improve when something goes wrong. When your team loses a game, instead of giving up and thinking they are bad at the game, they will start thinking about how they could have done it better. Instead of feeling hopeless, depressed and believing no one can help them improve, they will ask “What can we learn from this?”.

You won’t be so quick to give up if other people around you are failing. You will believe you can do it too and will start thinking about how they could have done things better. You won’t be quick to give up if other people around you are failing. You will believe you can do it too and will start thinking about how they could have done things better.

Why resilience is also important to developing a growth mindset

Physics has a term, the Law of Conservation of Energy. In short, this means we can’t create or destroy energy – it can only be transferred and transformed. The same is true of resilience!

Stepping back, you can see that the growth mindset can’t be developed without building our resilience. If we are too afraid of failure to try anything new or let ourselves get better, then we won’t have the foundation to build a growth mindset! We need to challenge ourselves and overcome our setbacks in order to develop a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is also not something that is developed overnight. It is built through time, effort and experience.

Some of the main ways to build your resilience are:

Practice – The more you practice something, the better you get at it. The same is true of developing a growth mindset. Practising and learning new things will help build and develop your resilience.

Confront failure – If you never fail, then how would you learn how to improve? If you never fail, then how would you learn how to improve? We can’t say “I tried and failed.” We need to try and fail!

Incorporate new skills – Visualise your Resilient Self. Once you can see this picture of yourself, then you know this is the person you want to be. You will start to recognise opportunities to build your resilience and think about ways you can become better at something.

10 Steps to Building Resilience and Grit using the Growth Mindset

1. Start by creating a Resilient Self Picture

First, write down your Resilient Self Picture. Write down what you believe your strengths and weaknesses are. Identify the things that bring you joy in life, and things that make you uncomfortable. What does success look like to you? What do you believe is important in life?

Write this down so that when you look at it later, it will remind you why you started this journey in the first place!

2. Build resilience by increasing your resilience

Find the things in your life that bring you joy and decrease things that don’t. Once you have identified these, then start to implement them into your life.

For example, if you are resistant to taking risks or new challenges, then start challenging yourself. Start small at first and see how it goes! You can do this in many different ways. For example, you can try something new or meet a new person every day for a week. Or, you can commit to saying yes to a new experience or opportunity every week.

3. Try to build new habits

Try starting with small habits, like the ones in this blog post. These will support you on your journey and make it easier to go forward towards your goal! You will also find it easier to build your resilience if you practice these habits daily.

4. Start understanding your fears

Now, start to think about the things in your life that make you uncomfortable or trigger fear. Be brave and think about how you can change these! Think of ways you can overcome them and build your resilience in the process.

What are the worst things that could happen? What happens if we don’t try something new? Start thinking of ways that these fears could be overcome, or start thinking of strategies to tackle them head on instead of avoiding them.

Don’t worry about this too much. The Resilient Self is just the journey you are taking – it doesn’t involve avoiding all fear! You can still live a happy and fulfilling life by making the most of the things that make us uncomfortable!

5. Check in to stay on track

Now, look at your Resilient Self Picture again. Think about how far along you are. How far are you from your goal? How do you feel? Are you still motivated to work towards this goal?

6. Take a step back and do something new!

Now, it’s time to do something new! Think about a skill you would like to learn or try. Something that could help you in the future. Do some research and find out what opportunities are around. Think about what you could do to get started. Ask friends or family if they can help you. And, don’t forget that you can try this at the library.

7. Build Resilience and practice a new skill!

Start small and build your resilience too! If you try and start learning something brand new, it can be overwhelming with all the new information that comes at you.

The key is to get started and build some skills while learning it. It’s all too easy to quit at the beginning, but if you stick with it, you will get better and better!

Learning a new skill is great for building your Resilience because it enables you to keep pushing forward without fail! You will hopefully see progress as you are building these skills, which is great motivation to continue learning.

8. Keep building Resilience and keep testing your beliefs

You are not done yet! Keep thinking about each step, and continue to challenge yourself. Think about how you can overcome your fears and get started, and think of the progress you are making. Think of new things that will be helpful in the future.

9. Keep going! Never Give up!

Apply this strategy to everything we do, and you will start to see more possibilities and build more resilience.

10. Enjoy the journey!

Enjoy the progress you are making! And, don’t forget what led you to reach your goal in the first place!

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