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Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping-Stones

Having a growth mindset can help us turn our setbacks into opportunities


In life, we may come across what feels like one stumbling block after another with little hope that things will get better. With these feelings, it can be easy to see failure as a sign that we don’t have what it takes to succeed. This way of thinking, however, is far from the truth.

Challenges will come our way, but we can turn our stumbling blocks into stepping-stones as we develop a growth mindset. 1
1 To learn more about a growth mindset, see Carol S. Dweck’s TED talk, “The power of believing that you can improve
Having a growth mindset can help us see our failures as opportunities to grow rather than setbacks.

An example of this mindset would be a student saying, “I’m not good at math, yet.” They believe they can develop the skill rather than telling themselves they can’t do it and won’t ever be able to do it. We ourselves can develop a growth mindset as we try new things and embrace mistakes, seek help from those close to us, and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Person Solving Math Problems
Solving problems is easier when we embrace mistakes.

Try new things and embrace mistakes

Sometimes we don’t go after our hopes and dreams because we’re afraid of making a mistake. Making a mistake, however, allows our brain to flourish with activity. The more we put ourselves in situations that stretch us, the more we will be able to solve difficult problems. 2
2 See Jo Boaler, “Mistakes Grow Your Brain,” accessed Aug. 23, 2019

Trying new things is one way we can practice developing a growth mindset. When we branch out and put ourselves in unfamiliar circumstances, we can create our own learning environment — a place that promotes challenge and growth. By seeking these experiences, we can walk a path of life-long learning that will frequently help us develop and increase our intelligence.

Ask for help

Seeking to develop a growth mindset is great with a friend! A friend or colleague can help hold us accountable for our progress and remind us of our potential. It’s important to choose the right person though. A great choice would be a person who can encourage us when we don’t think we can do it ask us how we’re doing with our goals.

Our friends can remind us that we haven’t achieved our desired results yet, but still encourage us to get there! In fact, as we try challenging things and receive encouragement from our peers, we will be inspired, but we can also inspire them. Our courage to seek higher education, or perform a difficult task, can have a lasting impact on those around us — leading others to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping-stones as well.

Friends can be a great reminder that we can do hard things.

Rely on the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is another companion we can use to develop a growth mindset. He can speak peace to our minds when we make a mistake, help us recognize the potential within us, and discover areas where we can improve.

When we struggle to understand assignments, or face difficult circumstances at home, we can pray for guidance and peace. Then as we act in faith, we can develop a growth mindset because of the challenge, growth, and learning we will be blessed with.

Boy Climbing Rock
Choosing to learn and grow from our challenges turns our stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.

Stepping forward with faith

Difficult circumstances will come into our lives, but as we begin to exercise a growth mindset, our intellectual capacity will increase. Challenges aren’t meant to be stumbling blocks in our lives, but rather they’re meant to serve as stepping-stones to lead us back to Heavenly Father. 3
3 See Elder Lynn G. Robbins, “Until Seventy Times Seven,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2018

Life is full of opportunities to grow and increase our capacity to learn. We each can see the good in our challenges as we view them as steps in our eternal progression. Though it will stretch us, often beyond comfort, we can move forward with gladness.