Growth mindset

How do I develop a growth mindset?

You’re settling into a new semester, new classes and new instructors. As you ebb and flow with each class, remember that you belong here and you, and your brain, are ready to soak in everything ASU has to offer. Make sure to keep a growth mindset when it comes to your workload and meeting new people.

A growth mindset is reframing your way of thinking – believing that you can improve through practice and support, taking feedback as a way to improve and learn, picking challenging tasks, and viewing obstacles as a chance to experiment and solve problems.

The opposite is a fixed mindset. This is the feeling that your situation is unchangeable, taking feedback as a personal attack, and picking easy tasks where minimum effort and no creative risks are taken. This isn’t you or you wouldn’t be here.

Your state of mind
Start your day with small wins, like making your bed or eating breakfast. Changing your perception of wins versus failure can alter your attitude and your day. Don’t focus on the two hour study session, think about it in smaller chunks. Thirty minutes of lecture review, thirty minutes of reading, thirty minutes of group discussion, and thirty minutes or what the group decides on.

You’re not your neighbor
Don’t spend time comparing yourself to your classmates. We’re all built differently and everyone puts forth a different amount of effort. Some classes may need an extra hour of study time while others need double or triple that. You’re not an expert…yet and that’s okay. 

You’re a chameleon
If you believe in change, your goals are limitless. Practice telling others about your mindset, you never know who can help you grow as you figure out your future. Explain that sometimes we start off with a blank slate on a subject and we get to add to it. We weren’t born knowing everything. 

Practice, practice, practice
Rethink how you talk about yourself. Practice these new phrases. Instead of saying “I can’t” remember you “can’t…yet.” If you wish you “should have” done something it’s not too late. “You can” and “you will” with the right support.

Believe in yourself
Do you ever feel defeated before you even start? Remember to reflect on your own beliefs and successes and not on those around you. Your class might celebrate when someone gets a perfect score on a test, but attending every single class is a huge accomplishment, too. Nothing can stop you now. You got this! 

The force is with you
Do you feel that? Your brain is growing right now! As you meet new friends and complete your courses, you’ll realize college is a time of growth. You’re strong enough. You’re not done yet and you know it! Want some extra encouragement? Check out courses like UNI 220 Mindset Connections to practice growth mindset concepts and UNI 120 to build growth mindset practice and creative problem-solving.


Special thanks to ASU faculty Jennifer Miller for highlighting the growth mindset and developing curriculum for courses in leadership, creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and academic success.

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