Become a more Growth-Oriented Adult by using a 7 Step Process and the GROWTH-O Strategies.  Do you want to stagnate or grow? It’s your choice.



In this blog the focus is on REAL Thinking and Learning about what it means to be a growth-oriented adult.

Keep the focus question in mind while you read the blog so that you can become more aware and knowledgeable about what it means to be a growth-oriented adult with a growth-oriented mindset.

Afterwards you can use your key insights in your personal or professional life to Become More Growth-Oriented as an adult and to help others to Become More Growth-Oriented.



Remember: It is always better to have clear goals and to use a systematic process to achieve your goals.



In this section I share some information or evidence that inspired me and I want you to also find something that inspires you.

I am using the 7 Metacognitive Steps Process (from my 7 Metacognitive Steps to Be More Online Course) as guidelines (or  framework) for this blog.


Metacognition simply refers to thinking about your own thinking and thought processes.  The purpose is to become aware of your own thinking and thought processes so that you can regulate and improve your thinking.  Metacognition therefore includes metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation.

The first 3 steps of the 7 Metacognitive Steps are about metacognitive knowledge and the next 3 steps focus on metacognitive regulation.  They require more comprehensive understanding and research and that is why Lifelong Learning is part of the last step.

You can move in a ‘flexible way’ between the steps as the steps are not rigid, and they overlap.  Together the steps however form a process or system that can move you forward.

The 7 Metacognitive Steps to Be More are:

1. Get knowledge of the concept, activity, task, or cognitive demands of the task/activity.

2. Develop self-knowledge about your ability/skills to do the task or activity or about your understanding of the concept.

3. Expand knowledge of strategies to do the task/activity or to understand the concept.

4. Plan SMART goals and the use of strategies to do the task/activity or to understand the concept.

5. Monitor use of strategies while doing the task/activity and implementing the strategies or whilst trying to understand a concept.

6. Evaluate your self-regulation and use of strategies to achieve your goal.

7. Become a lifelong learner.

These 7 steps can be applied to any task, activity, or concept that you would like to become better with but in this blog, I am applying the 7 Steps to ‘Be A More Growth-Oriented adult.’

For more information about the application of the steps, you can invest in my 7 Metacognitive Steps to Be More online course.



1. GET KNOWLEDGE of a Growth-Oriented Mindset.

It is important to get knowledge of the task, activity, or concept that you want to become better with.  There are many ways to do this and there are lots of valuable resources freely available on the internet. You can also invest in good books of researchers and experts, such as Carol Dweck and James Anderson.

What is a mindset?

According to the work of Carol Dweck and James Anderson, your mindset reflects the way you view your most basic characteristics like your talents, abilities, and intelligence.

A mindset is more like a set of beliefs that you have about yourself. These beliefs will lead to certain behaviours.  The behaviours that are then displayed on the outside reflect your inner mindset.

What are different mindsets?

Growth-Mindset is when you believe you are in charge of your basic characteristics (such as your talents, abilities, and intelligence) and you believe you can develop these characteristics.

On the other hand, if you believe these basic characteristics are fixed and you can’t control or develop them, you have a Fixed Mindset.

Referring to the two above mentioned mindsets only are however not correct.

As James Anderson states in his book,  The Learning Landscape: “Of course, there are not only two types of people in the world – those with a Fixed Mindset and those with a Growth Mindset.”  According to Anderson most people lie somewhere between these two extremes on the Mindset Continuum.

The Mindset Continuum, developed by James Anderson, therefore describes behaviours we see from learners on the low to high ends of the Mindset Continuum.

It might thus be better to describe someone as having a “limited Growth Mindset” or a more “Growth-Oriented” Mindset.

What are some characteristics of a Growth-Oriented Mindset?

The green leaves and the foliage in the tree image below represent the characteristics of a more growth-oriented person (adapted from the work of Carol Dweck and James Anderson).  Your inner mindset will be displayed outwardly as we can see from the image.

Outward behaviour and actions are thus the signs of what is going on inside and your mindset.  So, if you have a more growth-oriented mindset, you will have the characteristics of a growth-oriented person on the outside.

A few important characteristics of a person with a growth-oriented mindset are illustrated in the picture of the tree. This individual:


  • Believes intelligence can be developed
  • Has a desire to learn
  • Embraces challenges
  • Persists when there are setbacks
  • Sees effort as important on the learning journey
  • Learns form criticism and feedback
  • Finds lessons and inspiration in the success of others
  • Reaches ever higher levels of achievement
  • Has a greater sense of free will, etc.
Real Thinking & Learning about characteristics when More Growth-Oriented

 The big question is however: 

How do you develop these characteristics? 

Or, how do you change your inner mindset so that you can eventually display these characteristics as a growth-oriented adult?

Let’s continue with the next 6 steps of the 7 Metacognitive Steps.  These steps are like roots that need to be watered and get compost to grow well.

2. DEVELOP SELF-KNOWLEDGE about your progress to be a Growth-Oriented Adult.

The purpose of this step is to start reflecting about yourself and your mindset. This is an ongoing process, and it should happen all the time. Sometimes it is however good to stop deliberately and to think about your progress to be a growth-oriented adult. 

There are many options to get self-knowledge; to reflect about how growth-oriented you are; or to identify what’s stopping you. 

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses and reflect about what you are doing about your weaknesses.  Be honest with yourself and about how much effort and time you are really putting in to change.
  • Become more self-aware by using various ways, such as self-assessments (e.g. Enneagram Personality Types); talking to a  friend or family member or even a therapist or coach; etc.
  • Pinpoint positive and negative factors that are helping or stopping you to make changes and think about your self-talk. Are you blaming circumstances or other people or are you taking control and responsibility for yourself and your problems?
  • Talk to your ‘Future You’ to ponder on things you might regret in the future. Are you doing something to improve these things? Refer to my blog about the 4 Core Categories of Regrets based on the work of Daniel Pink. 
  • Reflect constantly about how you deal with challenges or problems in your life so that you can move on the Mindset Continuum towards the High Growth end of the continuum. Learn more about the Mindset Continuum (and the work and resources of James Anderson) to help you with this.
  • Seeking wisdom and discernment from God through meditation, prayer and reading God’s Word can also really help you to plan meaningful goals for yourself, to work towards achieving these goals, and give you the inner strength to make changes that will last.

 3. EXPAND KNOWLEDGE OF STRATEGIES to become a more Growth-Oriented adult.

Once you have gained better self-knowledge, you will be more aware of areas in your life where you would like to ‘Be More.’

It is not always easy to know where and how to start, so it can be helpful to first expand your knowledge of strategies that can help you to be a more growth-oriented adult. Once you understand that there are mindset and practical strategies that you can use, you can do some more in-depth planning.

There are many strategies that can be used and resources that provide valuable information.  You can develop your own way of reminding yourself of some important strategies.

For this blog I decided to highlight a few strategies that are important in my life. You can remember them with the acronym GROWTH-O but they can be used in any order.

PLEASE NOTE: The strategies overlap to a great extent with the 7 Metacognitive Steps due to the nature of this topic although that is good.  In this way you can refer to the 7 Metacognitive Steps that can be applied to any other task, activity, or concept too (as I explain in my 7 Metacognitive Steps to Be More course). But, if easier, focus mainly on the GROWTH-O Strategies to become a more growth-oriented adult.

Growth is an active process, so the strategies must enable you to go grow, develop yourself and change.  Each strategy therefore starts with a verb (in other words a doing word) to remind you that growth is an active process.

GROWTH-O Strategies to become a more Growth-Oriented adult:

Grant yourself time to reflect

Research and read

Optimize your brain health

Water the right thinking

Take action in small steps

Hold yourself accountable

Opt for lifelong learning and using opportunities

Real Thinking & Learning about What You Water Will Grow

 ‘G’ in GROWTH-O = Grant yourself time to reflect

  • It is very important to make time to reflect and ‘wonder’ daily (this strategy is actually a continuation of the second metacognitive step that is about developing self-knowledge).
  • You deserve time to reflect.  We often don’t allow ourselves the time to reflect but we deserve this time.
  • Try and dedicate a special time to meditate, pray, read the Bible or spiritual books.
  • You might have to wake up earlier and join the 5 AM Club to fit this into your day (for a quick overview of this book of Robin Sharma you can use this animated book summary).
  • Get out of your logical brain and also learn to use your intuitive intelligence. Sometimes we are so stuck in our logical brain that we can’t see where we need to grow and how to move forward.
  • Learn to use the power of journaling during your reflection and quiet time. It is only when you do this on a regular basis that you will experience the benefits (research resources to help you).
  • Remember that you can reflect all the time and anywhere – while you drive, walk, wait for an appointment, in the bath, etc.

‘R’ in GROWTH-O = Research and read

  • Develop the habit of researching something that can help you to grow and develop – for at least one hour per day (or week).
  • Google, read, listen to podcasts, or free webinars, enrol in a free course, talk to someone, etc.
  • There are unending opportunities to learn, get information and strategies, or to develop your skills without paying anything!
  • If you can afford it, buy books or do paid webinars or courses.
  • Learn about the Habits of Mind. According to The Institute for Habits of Mind, “Habits of Mind are a universal framework for thinking.  They are dispositions people use when confronted with problems and situations to which answers are not immediately apparent. When we draw upon these intellectual resources, the results that are produced are more powerful, of higher quality and of greater significance than if we fail to employ those intellectual behaviors.”
  • There are many other cognitive and metacognitive approaches that can be used to equip yourself with tools and skills to become a better thinker and agile learner as well as a more growth-oriented adult.
  • As you can see, this strategy is connected with Step 1 of the 7 Metacognitive Steps to Be More.

‘O’ in GROWTH-O = Optimize your brain health

  • The brain is who we are. No one (no matter how old you are) will really be able to become and remain growth-oriented without optimal brain health.
  • Whilst writing this blog, I was taking part in a Better Brain Health Challenge created by a husband-and-wife team, the Brain Docs.  Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai created the N.E.U.R.O. PLAN. This plan is about Nutrition, Exercise, Unwind (Managing Stress), Restorative Sleep, and Optimizing Cognitive Activity.
  • Since 2015 (after being diagnosed with breast cancer) I have become a very active Functional Medicine supporter.  Although I try my best to maintain optimal health to prevent chronic disease, The Better Brain Health Challenge inspired me to become even better with my personal health goals.
  • Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai emphasize the importance of 3 key things to help promote brain health as well as to stimulate your brain optimally (as you grow older). They are:
    • Having purpose (doing things that really intrigues and inspires you);
    • Complexity (engaging in activities that occupy multiple areas of the brain at the same time); and
    • Challenge (trying things to push your brain and becoming comfortable with being a bit uncomfortable).

 ‘W’ in GROWTH-O = Water the right thinking

  • The key to success and the key to failure is: WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT.  Earl Nightingale shared this in his message, titled The Strangest Secret, in 1956 already although this is in the Bible and many wise people have said the same too. Refer to my blog about the Strangest Secret for a start and then listen to as many as possible messages of Earl Nightingale. Every message is so powerful and full of wisdom that one can’t not be inspired to become a more growth-oriented adult.
  • Each one of us is the sum of our own thoughts. Hence, if you think in negative terms, you will get negative results.  Stated in a different way, it means that you will reap what you sow. Or, what you water will grow.
  • If you think you can’t change, grow, and develop your basic characteristics, then it will not happen.
  • So, in order to grow and develop, you need to believe that you can change and develop your basic characteristics. Remember: We are never too old to learn!
  • You must become aware of your self-talk and the language you use so that you can make a deliberate effort to change your self-talk. Don’t say to yourself, “I do not feel like doing this! or “I can’t do this!” Rather say something like, “Let me try this.  It’s a challenge but with a bit more effort I can learn how to do this!”
  • I highly recommend two amusing and inspiring books written by Dr Spencer Johnson. These books, Who Moved My Cheese and Out of the Maze are easy but powerful stories about change and beliefs.

‘T’ in GROWTH-O = Take action in small steps

  • The previous strategy was about ‘Water the right thinking.’ Thinking without action is however not going to help you if you want to be a more growth-oriented adult.
  • You must take action – even if small action steps initially. It’s within your control and it’s your choice!
  • I discovered Control Theory (of William Glasser, 1984) nearly 25 years ago. The theory was renamed ‘Choice Theory‘ in later years and the important work of Glasser continues today at the Glasser Institute for Choice Theory.
  • It is a complicated theory but I have carried a simple analogy of a car with me for 25 years to remind me that I must use my “thinking and action wheels” to satisfy my needs. I often share this analogy with my clients too as it is so helpful. Use this easy explanation of Choice Theory to understand the car analogy that explains ‘Total Behaviour’ in a simple way.  Children can even learn this theory as is clear from this blog post on Cars ‘R’ Us  but many adults can benefit from understanding this too. Even if it represents only a part of the theory, the blog post explains that it provides a practical approach to:
    • understanding ourselves and our feelings
    • identifying a process for rapid change
    • empowering people to help themselves
    • creating a sustainable blueprint to manage future challenges.
  • Make changes and become more growth-oriented by creating small habits initially.  Refer to the work and books of BJ Fogg (Tiny Habits) and James Clear (Atomic Habits) as these experts emphasize that the key to changing behaviour is to start small, and to make it feel good!

‘H’ in GROWTH-O = Hold yourself accountable

  • Like Earl Nightingale stated many years ago and as explained in Choice Theory: You’re in the driver seat. You are in control and you make the choices of where you want to grow, develop, and make changes.
  • The same rule or law that can lead to success in life can also lead to failure. It is all in how you use this law.
  • Pay the price and become the person you want to be by becoming a more growth-oriented adult.
  • Start small but plan your goals deliberately, monitor yourself all the time, and evaluate yourself on a regular basis. The ‘H’ strategy links directly to Steps 4, 5 and 6 of the 7 Metacognitive Steps so please refer to these steps too.

‘O’ in GROWTH-O = Opt for lifelong learning and using opportunities

  • The ‘O’ strategy is directly related to Step 7 of the 7 Metacognitive Steps to Be More.
  • There are so many learning opportunities available and self-education is vital.
  • There is no excuse. If you want to know something, develop yourself, learn skills, etc. You can find resources easily.  It is just one or two clicks away from you!

4. PLAN SMART GOALS and the use of strategies to become and be a more Growth-Oriented Adult.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal deliberately, is in other words successful. If you decide deliberately what to do, you are successful.

People with goals will know where they are going. People that fail, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances and that they do not have control.

You can be like a ship with a captain and crew, that know exactly where they are going or you can be like a ship without a captain, crew and no destination.

Everything that is worthwhile in life come free to us – our minds and souls; our bodies; our dreams and hopes; our intelligence; our ambitions; our love for family and friends. It is our choice what we are going to do with it. It is therefore important to plan long-term goals, medium-term goals, short-term goals, and strategies that can help you to achieve your goals.  It might be necessary to consult a psychologist, therapist or coach to help you if needed.

Goals must always be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable Relevant or Realistic, and Time-bound. Use resources like this SMART Goal Guide or this article by Thomas J Law to help you learn more about SMART goals.

5. MONITOR USE OF STRATEGIES whilst implementing strategies to become and be a more Growth-Oriented Adult.

It is important to monitor yourself all the time – before doing a task and during a task (and this means any task!). A lack of self-monitoring is a symptoms of poor metacognitive regulation that I observe with clients in my practice but also with family and friends (and of course with myself!).

The purpose of self-monitoring is to make adaptations if a strategy is not working or helping you to make progress towards achieving a specific goal (while you are doing the task or activity).

James Anderson (in the Learning Landscape) says that it is important to embrace your Learning Zone.  Use mistakes, welcome feedback, listen to criticism, and persevere. In the Learning Zone you can grow so never avoid monitoring yourself to become better and to grow.

6. EVALUATE your self-regulation and use of strategies to become and be a more Growth-Oriented Adult.

Monitoring yourself before and during a task or while you are implementing a strategy is vital but it is important to go a bit futher.

Evaluating yourself on a regular basis after the completion of a task (or after learning) is equally important.  Reflect about what went well, what did not go well, and what you should do next time. 

Think deliberately about your self-talk, the type of effort you used, the amount of time you put in, and your self-regulation.  Ask yourself if your struggles are unproductive or productive.

Move yourself on the Mindset Continuum towards the High Growth Mindset side. Remember that it is an ongoing journey and that is why there is one more step.

7. BECOME A LIFELONG LEARNER of how to become & remain a more Growth-Oriented Adult.

In this section, I would like to share a bit about my journey since 2020.

Just before the Covid Pandemic became a reality in South Africa, I made some changes in my professional career.  I terminated my services as a private occupational therapist at a mainstream high school after 21 years.  The reason for this decision was that ‘my cheese has moved’ and I wanted to get out of the ‘maze’ where I kept myself from developing more.

My vision was to expand my influence and service offerings to reach more target groups in SA and beyond, even if I was basically retirement age!  The way I planned to do this was by developing online products and services – even if I did not have all the skills I required at that stage.

I have always been a dedicated lifelong learner, but suddenly, I felt a bit insecure.

With a lot of hard work, long hours, and incredible struggles, I have however managed to create 6 e-Books, numerous blogs, and 2 Online Courses (plus maintained my practice and household).

The final outcomes are not the most important.  In the process I have pushed myself further on the Mindset Continuum.  I taught myself blogging skills, figured out how to create online courses on the Udemy Platform, and learned how to maintain my own website. I am busy mastering SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and getting good with Canva (to create visual, posters, flyers, etc). 

The more I am learning, the more my brain is developing and the more I can do things I could not do before.

I can quarantee you that it is totally worth it to become more growth-oriented! Your brain is you…use it optimally!

Do you want to conform (and stay in your comfort zone) or act with courage and grow?

Real Thinking & Learning about Be More Growth-Oriented Tree and Metacognitive Roots

 REAL Thinking & Learning about ‘Being a More Growth-Oriented Adult’ will help you to “attract more bees and butterflies” and enable you to produce seeds that can empower others to grow…(as illustrated in the featured image).

Estelle Brettenny