When it comes to personal growth and learning, we can have one of two mindsets. A fixed mindset or a growth mindset. They refer to the underlying beliefs and notions we have about approaching new material and dealing with the unknown.

But what it really boils down to is how you approach the challenges life throws your way. Do you see them as obstacles and do what you can to avoid them? Or do you use them as a chance to grow and get better at what it is you do?

That difference is one of the reasons it’s important to develop a growth mindset. It helps you make progress, get better, and – as the name implies – grow as a human being.

To put it another way, it’s up to you and the mindset you develop whether you’re stuck where you’re at right now, or whether you can motivate yourself to make progress and move up in the world. I think it’s fair to say that none of us want to feel stuck.

Getting unstuck is of course easier said than done. If you’ve been told this was as far as you can go over and over again, it’s hard to refute that belief. If you’ve been taught, or learned over the years, that hard work and effort rarely pays off, it’s hard to develop that growth mindset. If you have no cheerleaders in your corner or like-minded people around you, it’s hard to make the transition from fixed mindset to growth mindset.

Embrace the challenge the transition brings with it. Come up with a strategy to defeat negative thoughts and negative influences. Find someone who encourages you. Look for a mentor or someone you admire who has beaten the odds and continues to grow. Model their behavior. Notice any negative self-talk and stop it in its track. Write yourself motivating notes and reminders to stay on track and grow. Expect setbacks and make a plan for getting back on track.

The hardest part is starting the transition into a growth mindset. As you start to develop those new skills and habits, it will become easier to look for new solutions, to push a little harder, and to work on continual growth and improvement. Your job is to get the ball rolling. After that momentum starts to kick in to help you on your journey towards developing and maintaining a growth mindset.