I've recently found myself indulged in the book, 'Mindset,' by Carol Dweck.
It's very intriguing to learn all about the way our human minds work and function.
It's even more fascinating to understand why some people think a completely different way to others.
Whilst reading the book, I sometimes find myself holding my breath when I read over a specific part of the book.
A part that describes someone stuck in a fixed mindset.
It immediately reminds me of a moment in time where I shared that exact same trait, and now I feel happy that I don't.
As I unearth the words inside the book, I begin to realise how I used to be stuck in this fixed mindset, how I used to think that everything in business should just come naturally to me, or else I wasn't cut out for it.
Coming from a family which is mediocre at best, it makes it very hard to break free from the mindset we've lived with our whole lives.
The mindset where money is hard to come by and the only way to get more is to work infinitely harder than everyone else.
As I've traversed the entrepreneurial world, I've subconsciously grown out of old habits and beliefs, and have made my way into the growth mindset without directly realising.
In this article, I wanted to talk about how I managed to adopt a growth mindset in business and why it's important to do so.
Fixed vs Growth mindset
Over the last few years, I've slowly realised that success comes down to how you think.
100s of years ago, becoming successful was a secret you were only exposed to had you come from a well-off family.
Today, we're lucky enough to know everything we need to know about success.
A simple Google search can unravel a wealth of knowledge we may not have known before.
One book can change the course of your life forever.
With this power, comes a lot of confusion - see, everyone is familiar with success as 'the thing not everyone can have.'
Once people pursue their own success, they become tangled up in many different realities because they unknowingly dabble in many different directions because success has to be difficult to obtain, right?
That's where we're wrong, it's this mindset that sets us up for failure, to begin with.
We overcomplicate the path to success for no real reason.
Success, today, is no longer about who knows what.
It's no longer about who has the right resources to be successful.
It's more about who's mentally equipped to pursue success.
That's the reason there's a slight shift in the pattern of my articles - they're more centered on the mindset part of entrepreneurship now.
To be successful today, we must learn to escape the fixed mindset we've lived our whole lives.
The belief that humans are born with traits that predetermine where they'll be in life is dead.
The growth mindset, on the other hand, doesn't believe in traits, or natural talent, the growth mindset embraces... well, growth.
Anyone can pick a field, and with enough determination, time, and the right mindset, they can be at the top of their game.
So how exactly do we adopt this mindset in order to be successful?
Embrace life-long learning
Those stuck in the fixed mindset believe that to excel in a specific field, you should be born with the skills to do so.
In order to be a great leader, you must be born with leadership traits.
In order to be a great teacher, you should be naturally smart.
To be a great speaker, you should naturally know how to talk and speak in front of audiences.
In order to be an entrepreneur, you should know the ins and outs of business before you get into it.
Once you're at the top, there's no going down and so you should just stop working hard because working hard is a sign of weakness.
It's a sign you're losing your touch.
When I was a simple schoolboy, this was almost exactly how I saw the world.
I was a naturally smart person and so I would almost frown upon those with less natural ability than me.
On top of that, I saw revision as a means of humiliating my intellectual abilities when in reality, I didn't want to work hard and expose my flaws.
Flaws that would show I wasn't as smart as I thought.
If I had revised and put in the work, then I wouldn't be as smart as I thought I was.
As I ventured into business, I quickly learned that I didn't know anything - luckily for me, I didn't expect to be the best immediately and so I naturally started to accept learning and make it part of who I was.
After my first failure, I noticed that this was a completely different playing field.
It's not about natural ability here, it's about who's more willing to go and get it.
To be successful in business, you must become a life-long learner.
The moment you stop learning is the moment you tell the world that you're no longer after the goals you've wanted this whole time.
With this, I started to read books, watch videos, take courses, and learn everything I could possibly learn.
I saw that the only way to the top is by embracing a growth mindset, one where I could learn and improve what I already knew.
The realm of business is fast-moving and can change at any time.
Only those who accept this and stay ahead of the curve will succeed.
Those stuck in the mindset that their natural abilities will prevail are the ones who eventually go out of business.
Fail fast, learn faster
With the growth mindset in action, accepting failure and taking it as a lesson is a must.
No one likes to fail, it's only natural.
Even those who can't get enough of the growth mindset hate failing.
Luckily for us, we don't need to love failure to be successful.
We just need to understand that failure is inevitable and therefore, stop trying to avoid it altogether.
I didn't immediately make a switch from the fixed mindset to the growth mindset when I started in business.
The first few months, I was stuck in the habits I had picked up throughout my school years.
I would learn, learn, learn, whilst doing little in terms of action because I was scared to fail.
I walked on eggshells because I didn't want anything to go wrong, I just wanted everything to be perfect, first time.
When Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player in history, lost a game or missed a shot, he didn't tell himself he's no longer good enough.
He went ahead and practiced the game, replaying every moment and finding a way to improve on it so it didn't happen again.
An elite basketball player who remained at the top of his game for the duration of his career.
A lot of people, especially those stuck in a fixed mindset, give up immediately after their first failure in business, or anything in life.
As soon as they get a whiff of failure, they no longer believe this route is for them and so they've gone on to the next thing.
"Maybe business isn't for me, let me try a 9-5 job."
To take advantage of the growth mindset, you must be willing to fail and fail fast.
The faster you fail, the faster you can understand why you failed and fix it.
It's a simple feedback loop that people overlook because they're scared to fail.
The point of failure is simply to learn how to avoid it next time.
The first time I failed in business, I learned exactly how I could do everything differently next time to succeed.
It might be hard to face failure, but the faster you do it, the faster you can eventually come out on top.
There's no free path to success, no way to walk through life untouched.
By the time you make it to the other side, you'll be scarred and exhausted, but the taste of victory will be sweet enough to help you back on your feet.
Surround yourself with growth-minded people
You might've heard of the rather corny saying, "we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with."
That means if we spend our time with 5 people who do nothing but complain, we'll be big on complaining.
If we spend our time around 5 people who love to drink and smoke when they're free, we'll be the sixth person to join them.
It's a rather simple theory, but it's not far from the truth.
The people you spend most of your time around will be the people you're most influenced by.
This doesn't mean you should cut off everyone you've ever known and find new people to live with.
You should focus on building a circle of people who embrace the growth mindset.
You should aim to have a group of people who uplift you and aim for similar goals to you.
When I speak to family and friends about my business goals, I'm often met with a smirk or an unpleasant feeling at the end.
This is because not everyone will understand you and what you want to achieve.
It's very difficult to change people's perspectives that have been ingrained in them over dozens of years.
However, it's much easier to find people who understand you and have similar goals to you.
When one of you succeeds, the others will be motivated to succeed too, you'll see that it's possible to succeed.
I've spoken about networking before and how you can find growth-minded people to be around.
There's a rule of thumb that states you should not be the smartest in the room.
When you're the smartest person in the room, there's essentially no room for growth.
Surrounding yourself with people who know more than you, or are slightly ahead of you in their careers can bring you up to their level.
When you're around 5 people who own million-dollar businesses, it won't be long until you also own your own million-dollar business.
It's just a natural way of working, it's how the world and humans work.
I'd argue that the easiest way to adopt a growth mindset is this - finding a group of people who are growth-minded thinkers and spend time with them.
Don't give up
This may seem cliché, but it's the most important piece of advice to hear when embracing the growth mindset.
The growth mindset is all about learning and growing.
Unlike the fixed mindset that focuses on raw talent and natural ability, the growth mindset promotes learning and gradually improving your skill and expertise.
In this process, nothing will always go 100% smoothly.
You're going to come across times that feel like a drag.
There will be times where it feels like the whole world is standing against you.
It might even feel like your only option is to give up, is to lose hope - maybe all along, you've been fooling yourself?
These are the times where it counts most.
These are the times where you must stand up and tell yourself that this is all part of the journey.
Everyone who's been where you want to be has experienced this already.
They've gone through hardship, fought the endless battles that they encounter every day, and made it to the other side.
If one person, 5 people, 100 people, or 1000+ people can do it, what stops you from going down the same path?
The decision to give up or keep going will always be near at some point or another.
Making the right decision to keep going is to be the only factor that matters, it's going to make you stronger - it's what this growth mindset is all about.
The one thing that separates the winners from the losers is their willingness to keep going in spite of their situation.
The winners are the ones who don't complain about their situation and instead keep pursuing a better fate relentlessly.
Wherever you are right now, whatever you feel like your life is like currently, there's always greener grass on the other side.
The only way to get there is to see this whole thing through - there are no shortcuts and there are no easy ways out.
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