How Growth Mindset Helps Develop Self-Discipline

  • Inoble

  • Jan 11, 2022

Self-discipline is about staying motivated and taking action despite physical and emotional challenges. It means that a person with self-discipline is a good problem solver. For instance, when someone goes to work even when they do not want to, they have used self-discipline to push them forward. One should keep in mind that self-discipline is different from willpower and self-motivation. Self-disciplined people drive action by relying on different skills like ambition, persistence, resilience, responsibility, and strong work ethic. Let’s explore the growth mindset and see how it is connected with self-discipline.

What’s Unique About a Growth Mindset?

Carol Dweck has done a lot of work in this area, and through her research, she highlighted two mindsets named growth and fixed mindset.

A growth mindset is about skills and qualities being flexible i.e. they can be cultivated and improved through effort,

A fixed mindset is about skills and qualities being naturally gifted and unchangeable despite the effort.

In addition to this, people can have a fixed mindset for one skill but have the flexibility for another skill, for instance, people can be flexible about foreign languages but have a fixed mindset for public speaking.

An article written in Harvard Business Review highlighted some confusion that people have regarding Carol Dweck’s research.

  • The first confusion: people believed that open-minded and positive thinkers are also people with a growth mindset. 
  • The second confusion: some people thought when someone achieves something, complimenting them and rewarding them is the best practice. 
  • The last confusion: the growth mindset is enough and no suitable action is necessary to nurture it in schools, offices, and other societal institutes. Moving on, growth mindset people also rely upon their resilience skills i.e. the ability to get back up when faced challenges. Let’s explore passion and perseverance that are jointly called grit.

Grit: Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth defines grit as the ability to maintain the effort for long-term targets. She elaborates that grit can be nurtured with a growth mindset. In other words, grit is about consistency and sustainable effort even in the face of obstacles, and failure. It is now clear how grit and resilience go hand in hand. She also shared that grit does not mean that one starts denying their pain and thinks that all is well, but grit is about one’s reflective ability i.e. to reflect upon one’s actions and then make effort to regulate them.

For instance, a child has a dream to learn a musical instrument so he puts in the required effort and patiently handles the tough lessons i.e. he never gave up till the end. As a result, he improved drastically. Likewise, a girl wanted to learn the Korean language and enrolled in a course. She worked hard consistently despite setbacks. Consequently, after 4 months, she completed the course with flying colors. Hence, both the children demonstrated grit and a growth mindset.

How to Encourage Growth Mindset & Discipline in Others

To encourage a growth mindset and self-discipline in others, a person should become a role model, compliment it in others and nurture it through rules and regulations. For example, set a goal and imagine all the barriers that can come in the way, then prepare an action plan in advance to tackle them. Moreover, observing the effort of others and praising it is also a good idea. When someone abides by the set rules, they should be encouraged and empowered for doing it.

Importance of Growth Mindset and Self-discipline

As we know that growth mindset is about sustainable effort towards short-term and long-term goals, It also requires discipline along with other skills. At the start of this article, we came to know about certain traits like passion, persistence, strong work ethic, and organization. There is a significant overlap between a growth mindset and self-discipline. Hence, to achieve anything in any area of life – personal, professional, and school – an individual should cultivate both of them.

The trap of ‘willpower’ thinking

In a 2011 study, it was found that more than 20% of respondents believed they were not achieving their goals in life because of a lack of willpower. Most of the participants also believed that they could enhance it by having more leisure time. However, there is no evidence to support it. A better idea is to work on self-discipline muscles because willpower gets exhausted easily, whereas self-discipline can be strengthened over time.

How to Cultivate More Self-Discipline

There are many ways to nurture the muscles of self-discipline. Some of the ways are: accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses so that strengths can be used to minimize weaknesses, making a SMART goal plan where S is specific, M is measurable, A is attainable, R is relevant and T is time-based. In addition to this, minimize distractions in the surroundings, get out of the comfort zone on a daily basis, and deal with fears, anticipate good outcomes, and constantly learn from mistakes and failures. Finally, carrying on the experimentation (for new learning) and acquiring its advantages.


Enhancing self-discipline is crucial for creating a meaningful and desirable life. With consistent effort, everybody can nurture it. Of course, self-discipline cannot be fostered without a change in mindset. Having a growth mindset also means that it is okay to make mistakes and fail as long as valuable lessons are learned from them. Moreover, ‘willpower’ thinking is a limiting belief that should be replaced with self-discipline and a growth mindset.