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December 9, 2019

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 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.

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

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.

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

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.

How has a growth mindset helped you in your life? Share your experiences in the comments below!

1^ To learn more about a growth mindset, see Carol S. Dweck’s TED talk, “The power of believing that you can improve
2^ See Jo Boaler, “Mistakes Grow Your Brain,” accessed Aug. 23, 2019
3^  See Elder Lynn G. Robbins, “Until Seventy Times Seven,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2018

Comments on "Turning Stumbling Blocks into Stepping-Stones"

Jamie Regehr says:

Really great post!

Guellor Mbaki says:

Thank you so much for this uplifting message!

As I am preparing to start PathwayConnect as a non-native English speaker, a father, husband, employee, and a leader in the Church, I cannot number the challenges I’m facing right now!

Reading this uplifting message helps me to understand how my Heavenly Father loves me and wants me not only to endure to the end, but also to enjoy this mortal life as I am working for my eternal life.

I am grateful beyond measure to be a member of the Kingdom of God on earth and have brethren who help me turn my stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.

I am so excited to begin this wonderful journey to a bright future and successful life!

Thank you once again. –Brother Jamie Regehr

Lauren Conrad says:

Thank you for sharing your experience, Jamie! Your faith and testimony are inspiring.

Sis Moore says:


Bernard Obiri-Yeboah says:

Finally I think the answers to my spiritual confusion are being made readily available and in a more innovative way.

To have the opportunity to not only know about Heavenly Father’s plans for me but the very ingredients to help me point my compass in His direction is a testimony that brings joy to my life.

I know things won’t be easy but with the Saviour at the helm of events, I will not be moved.

Thank you.

Jeanie Farnworth says:

I just enrolled in the PathwayConnect Program. I am a little worried but excited. I will turn 82 soon and love learning, so with the help of my Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost, I feel it will be a wonderful experience. My biggest challenge will be able to maneuver on the computer, but I know I will learn. Thanks for offering this program to everyone. Jeanie Farnworth

Ginger says:

Not all decisions feel peaceful right at first. However, when we work to overcome obstacles as we stay on the path Heavenly Father wants us to, that is when we begin to feel peace and confidence in God’s plan.

Bowen says:

No experience comes to mind, but I’m looking forward to having these experiences through my challenges in BYU-Pathway.

Walter Wisdom says:

A growth mindset has helped me overcome my weaknesses in life

Carla Ivonne says:

A growth mindset has helped me in many circumstances trough my life. I remembered when I was a volleyball player, sometimes it was kind of impossible for me to get the marks in jumping that my coach requires because of my height. But having positive thoughts helps encourage me to keep practicing and keep training to achieve those marks. Also, praying helps me to feel confidence and develop a growth mindset.

Nellie Angela Mensah says:

Thank you for this inspirational thought. I’m looking forward to these challenges that will help me grow both physically and spiritually.

Moli Taufa says:

The first growth mind set for me is stepping into BYU-Pathway with a lots of faith. Thanks for the uplifting messages.

Christopher says:

My first experience at turning stumbling block into stepping stones was making a decision to pursue a university education without a sponsor after returning home from a honorable missionary service in 2014. It was a growth mindset that kept me focused even in the face of challenges.


This is really uplifting and edifying.

Richard Ravinesh Gounder says:

Thank you for the uplifting message. I like the idea of trying new things and not being scared of failure but using it as a stepping stone. What a great way to begin this journey. No wonder we are told to be more childlike; they persevere, and their strength stems from not fearing failure.

mazzynarisma says:

Thank you for the inspiration you share to us. For me personally I was enlightened and determined to pursue more so that I can turn my failures or mistakes into opportunities. I know the road isn’t easy, but the Lord’s help and blessing are so sure.

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