Growth Mindset & Motivation

Matt Worsdall

Matt Worsdall

Principal Consultant

Success is no longer determined solely by talent or intelligence, instead by the mindset with which we chose to approach any given situation. This choice will ultimately determine the levels of success we have in relation to our goals.

Research has shown that people who possess a growth mindset and practice positive inner dialogue are more likely to achieve success than those who don’t.

In this article, we’ll explore what a growth mindset is, the importance of inner dialogue, and how to master motivation to achieve success.

What is a Growth Mindset?

A growth mindset is a belief that our abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication, and persistence. People with a growth mindset view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as insurmountable obstacles. They believe that their intelligence and talents can be developed through effort and practice, rather than being fixed traits that cannot be changed as is found in the fixed mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are predetermined and unchangeable. They view challenges as threats to their self-esteem and tend to give up easily when faced with difficulties.

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The simple message here is what we believe affects what we achieve, with those adopting a fixed mindset following a path of “I can’t” and therefore “I won’t” (inertia/ plateau), whereas those adopting the growth mindset setting themselves on a path of “I can” (with effort) therefore “I will” (opportunity/ continuous improvement).

The iceberg model (our core mindset model at Arcadia) is a way of visualising the idea that people often only see the tip of the iceberg of another person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, while a much larger part of that person’s internal world remains hidden, below the surface.

What is visible, the tip of the iceberg, represents a person’s observable behaviours, words, and actions that we can easily perceive. However, much of what drives these behaviors is hidden beneath the surface and is not readily apparent. These hidden elements include a person’s beliefs, attitudes, values, emotions, and past experiences and of course their MINDSET, which can significantly impact how they perceive and respond to the world around them. The mindset (growth or fixed) will drive how they feel about themselves and the world, this drives the quality of action that they take which in turn manifests in the results they get. 

How Can I Adopt a Growth Mindset?

Inner Dialogue: Inner dialogue refers to the conversations we have with ourselves in our heads. It is the voice that tells us what we can or can’t do, and shapes our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Inner dialogue can be both positive or negative. It is one of the main ways we can shape how we perceive ourselves, and the world around us.

People with a growth mindset tend to have a positive inner dialogue. They focus on their strengths and abilities, and view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. They use positive self-talk to motivate themselves and maintain a sense of optimism, even in the face of setbacks.

Mastering Motivation: Motivation is the driving force behind our actions and behaviors. It’s what inspires us to set goals, work hard, and overcome obstacles. However, motivation can be elusive, and many people struggle to maintain it over the long term. Here are some tips for mastering motivation:

  • Set Goals: Setting clear and achievable goals is essential for maintaining motivation. Goals give us a sense of purpose and direction, and they provide a framework for measuring progress and success.
  • Focus on the Process: Rather than just focusing on the end result, it’s important to focus on the process of achieving our goals. This means breaking down our goals into smaller, more manageable steps, and celebrating our progress along the way.
  • Practice Positive Self-Talk: Positive self-talk can be a powerful motivator. By using positive affirmations and focusing on our strengths and abilities, we can maintain a sense of optimism and motivation, even in the face of setbacks.
  • Embrace Failure: Failure is an inevitable part of the learning process. Rather than seeing failure as a reflection of our abilities, we should view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. By embracing failure and using it as a learning experience, we can maintain our motivation and continue to make progress towards our goals.

Leading with a Growth Mindset

From a leadership perspective, growth mindset means adopting a belief that your team, colleagues and organisation can improve if they are enabled and given a safe environment in which to learn, receive constructive feedback and are not stigmatised when things don’t go to plan. Praising effort, innovation and work ethic whilst not just focussing on the end result is critical here.

Learn not lose – a fail only makes you a failure if you don’t learn and grow from it.

Growth Mindset = Business Success

Growth mindset is essential for business success because it encourages employees to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and strive for continuous improvement. It also helps to create a culture of collaboration and innovation, which are essential for any business to succeed. A growth mindset also helps to foster a positive attitude and resilience, which are key to overcoming challenges and achieving success. Finally, it helps to creates a culture of peak performance and success.

As leaders we need to allow space for people to improve and not always expect perfection first time around. Over praising only can create a dangerous fixed mindset culture that when things don’t go to plan, the strategy of ‘I’m a natural’ is unhelpful, whereas a strategy of “tenacity, curiosity and self-reflection” will be useful as a response when things go wrong.


A growth mindset, positive inner dialogue, and strong motivation are all essential for achieving success. By embracing a growth mindset, focusing on positive self-talk, and mastering motivation, we can overcome obstacles and achieve our goals. Remember, success is not determined solely by talent or intelligence. It’s the product of the mindset with which we approach our goals.

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