When I was a kid, I had this big idea that I just needed to become an adult and then somehow all of my problems would magically work themselves out. That I would hit a certain age and that would just be it. I wouldn’t need to learn anything new, fix problems, or grow anymore.
Needless to say, life has taught me that my beautiful but slightly idealistic idea of adulthood wasn’t so accurate. As it turns out, having a growth mindset when you are an adult is the defining factor of how your future plays out.
I think a lot of people struggle with the idea initially because they feel it somehow means that something is wrong with them. I know I did – I thought that needing to grow was for weak or broken people.
But growth isn’t necessary just for hard times, it’s necessary for all thriving environments. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.
Having a growth mindset when you an adult isn’t about fixing something; it’s about taking things to the next level in life. It’s about fulfilling your dreams and taking action on your goals.
Where there is no growth, there is no moving forward – and that leaves us stuck in life.
That’s where I found myself a few years ago and let’s just say that me feeling stuck in life may even have been an understatement. It’s what started me on my personal development journey.
That path led me to understand the importance of having a growth mindset. It’s been the biggest factor in changing my life and below I’m laying out some of the key factors I learned about the topic.
Why You Should Have A Growth Mindset
You know those things you’ve always wanted in your life? All the things that are seemingly good and elusive at the same time… The ability to pay a bill a whole entire month in advance, an actual mature and stable relationship, a job you don’t hate, and a car that isn’t falling apart (or at least enough money to not go deeply in debt to drive a safe one).
It’s all a mindset issue. That may be hard to wrap your mind around initially so let me give some examples.
Our whole life is spent forming habits, opinions, and subconscious narratives about how things in life work.
We watch the people who raise us, the next-door neighbor, and that kid who seems to know everything in the second grade, or at least repeats everything his dad says. Our subconscious takes it all in, and our mindsets are formed.
The things we see and tuck away are the baseline for all we do in life. The problem is that we usually aren’t even aware it’s happening. It causes us to have a glass ceiling aka limiting beliefs in certain areas of our lives. Have you ever noticed that people tend to struggle with the same things over and over?
When you have a fixed mindset, you don’t make any progress in an area. You hit your glass ceiling and start over again. A growth mindset is what helps you put cracks in your ceiling, to break apart the limiting beliefs, and to take things to the next level in life.
How Mindsets Are Formed
Let’s take a moment to examine a bit more how the mindsets that hold us back are formed.
All mindsets are formed from experiences we have…
Your caretakers struggled to put food on the table and you saw how hard they worked, so surely people with enough money and who aren’t in debt are liars and cheats… You don’t want to be seen that way so you exhaust yourself working to live paycheck to paycheck. What other option is there? You’re not a dishonest person.
Your parents have a seemingly good relationship because one of them kept quiet for the sake of peace… or they fought like it was WW2. Either way, you struggle with inner turmoil and resolving conflict in relationships which leaves you feeling lonely. But it’s whatever, cause doesn’t everyone?
Your furniture looks the same as it did in college, probably cause it mostly is, but it’s functioning. Besides, you barely spend enough time at home for it to matter. That warm and happy feeling the spaces in HGTV shows give you isn’t realistic for you. A house is a place to sleep and store all the crap you’ve accumulated. It doesn’t need to make you feel good.
It’s important to recognize these things because becoming aware of what your limiting mindsets are and how they are formed is what will open you up to push past them.
The ability to have a growth mindset as an adult truly is the key to creating a life you feel good about.
How to Have a Growth Mindset When You Are An Adult
1) Be Open and Willing to Change
Let’s just be real here for a second – it’s one thing to be aware that some mindset shifts need to happen; it’s another thing entirely to be open and willing to make the changes.
Needing to make some mindset shifts does not mean there’s something wrong with you or that your thinking is broken. It means something happened in the past that has affected your life and now you’re taking back the power that thing held over you.
You’re deciding what happens in your future. You’re happening to life instead of letting life happen to you.
First, comes an awareness of the situation which goes hand in hand with being open to the idea that some mindset growth is needed. Then comes the willingness to change. The difference between being open to change and willing to change is actually taking action to change.
How do you take action to have a growth mindset as an adult? This brings me to my next point…
2) Consider Your Influences
Have you heard the quote by Jim Rohn “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”?
This is true in every area of your life because whatever their mindsets are, play out in their actions which sets the baseline for yours.
The five biggest influences in your life don’t always have to be people. It could be the shows you watch, the Instagrammers you follow, the people you work with.
Take a moment to think about the five people you spend the most time with and/or the five things you spend the most time doing.
Would you say that they emulate the kind of life you want?
Is the average of their finances what you want for your life?
Does the average of their physical and mental state motivate you or concern you?
Are they in the kinds of relationships you would like to have?
Are they happy, at peace, present in their lives?
These are all things to consider. Your influences will be one of the biggest factors in the growth you experience. If you don’t feel good about the average of these things, it may be time to shift your biggest influences.
That doesn’t mean to cut the other ones out entirely; it just means it’s time to not let them have such an impact on you.
3) Find the Right Resources and Tools
Once you’ve analyzed your current influences, it’s time to add in impactful positive ones that will take you to the next level.
Someone somewhere out there has already been through the thing you want to change… and no doubt, they’ve written a book, a blog post, recorded a podcast or Youtube video on how to overcome it.
You just have to find it – and then consume it and put it into work like your life depends on it, because it does.
If you need a helping starting point in this, I’ve created guide on the books that have had the biggest impact on my life in a year.
4) Understand That Growth Happens One Day at a Time
In the same way that it has taken us one day at a time to get to the place we are, it is going to take one day at a time to get where we want to be.
Growth is a gradual process. Part of having a growth mindset when you are an adult is having the patience to work on your growth day by day. Learn to understand who you are and what you want in life because if you don’t know who you are or what you want, how can you be confident in where you are going?
It may feel slow at first, but one day you will wake up and look back on the day you started your personal growth journey and realize just how far you have come.
And those moments are the ones that make it all worth it.
They’ve actually done the math and found that just a 1% change each day, will make you 37 times better in a year. (source)
I don’t know about you, but 1% a day sounds like less work to me than getting out of bed some days.
1% is so doable! I know you can do that!
5) Always Keep Going
Anytime we try to make a change in our lives that breakthrough old stuff, we get a whole lot of resistance.
Our friends fight us, our family doesn’t understand us, and we question it ourselves. But that’s a natural part of growing past your limiting beliefs.
If you don’t fight through it now, you’ll come back around to the same side of the mountain, revisit the same struggle – you’ll stay where you are.
The ability to keep going takes grit. It’s something you have to decide to do because giving up and living under that glass ceiling will sometimes feel easier.
But you only get one life to live. Do you really want to live it in a glass box created by things that weren’t in your control?
You get to control breaking out of it. You get to control your future. Only you can push past the resistance to create a life you feel good about.
And I truly hope that’s a decision you make because it’s so worth it.
You know, I started my personal development/growth mindset journey out of desperation for a change. I was stuck in life and I really didn’t know what to do about it.
These five things have completely revolutionized my life. I essentially live by them every day. A commitment to growth is something that very few people talk about and even fewer truly live by.
I think sometimes we feel like people who have it all together are living by some elusive secret. If there was one, I believe it’s the tenacity to grow no matter what. No matter what others are saying or doing. No matter what things look like at the moment.
I believe it’s the commitment to grow, to find the knowledge to overcome a problem when it arises, and to keep moving forward.
Lastly, I believe you are capable of this too. No matter what your past was. No matter what your present is. I believe that you can have a growth mindset as an adult and create a life you feel good about.
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