If you know anything about me you know that I hate rules. It’s so binary. Black, white. Right, wrong. Rules are made up as a guide. It’s why I’m having such a tough time with the title of this column: “5 rules for a growth mindset”. It feels disingenuous. Hypocritical, almost.
While I’m technically about to lay out some “rules”, they’re not exactly set in stone. They’re more like principles or a guide – constantly evolving.
In my new book, ‘Go Live! 10 principles to launch a global empire’, I took renowned psychologist Dr Carol Dweck’s theory on growth mindset and distilled it down into a set of rules that I followed to get to where I am today. It’s in Principle 2: Persistence is Omnipotent.
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I want to share these with you. This is how I use Dweck’s five characteristics for a growth mindset and apply them to everything I do.
According to Dweck, a fixed mindset is when you have a limited perception of your abilities, while a growth mindset is the opposite, when you believe that you can continually improve through challenges and learning. I submit to you that you are only limited by your imagination.
Having a growth mindset is how I’ve overcome challenges and setbacks, and what fuels me to keep going.
Rule 1: Say “yes”
The problem with saying “no” is that you’re saying “no” to potential. This is a huge problem.
We’ve all met people who’ve said “If only I did…” or “If I could go back in time I’d…”. Call it what you want. Regret. Hindsight. I call it unrealised potential.
What if the people in these situations just said “yes”? Where would they be now? Sure, not every “yes” is going to turn into a win.
You will face rejection. It’s inevitable. But, more often than not, it’ll turn into something. A life experience. A handshake with the right person. A spark of inspiration. A lesson. All of which are valuable and lead to new opportunities.
Rule 2: When you feel like giving up, push on
Most have had that moment when it feels like nothing is going right. You can’t seem to solve your problem and you’re ready to throw in the towel.
It’s natural. But you’ve got to push through the pain. And sometimes the best way to push through to the other side is to lay down. Literally.
Banksy said it best: “Learn to rest, not to quit.”
That may seem overly simplistic but staring at something that’s not going right won’t fix the problem. Do some meditation. Take a nap. Or go for a run. Let your mind wander. Then come back and attack the problem.
Rule 3: Add an extra 2 percent of effort to everything you do
At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games during the women’s 400 metre final, Shaunae Miller from the
Bahamas beat American sprinter Allyson Felix by seven-tenths of a second. How? Miller dove head-first across the line.
Winning is all about being willing to go above and beyond. To push yourself that tiny bit extra every time you do something. Just 2 percent more. And sometimes, it’s the difference between coming first and losing.
Rule 4: Thank people for their feedback
A key part of a growth mindset is being able to deal with feedback.
Not all feedback is going to be crucial but a lot of the time it will be. Negative feedback is actually a good thing. I submit that it’s even more important than good feedback. Because it’s how you improve.
Remember that feedback is not a direct attack on you. And even if it is, take the time to listen and understand why the person said what they said. If it’s useful, take it on. If it’s not, say thank you and disregard it.
Rule 5: Celebrate successful people
It’s really easy to get down when other people are winning and you’re not. Comparing myself to others was something that I’ve had to learn to be ok with. Take it a step further and celebrate these people.
Dweck highlights a major divide between people who have a fixed mindset and a growth one.
People with a fixed mindset feel threatened by other people’s success but someone with a growth mindset takes inspiration from other people succeeding. Champion others. It feels better than the alternative.
Fred Schebesta is the founder of global fintech Finder and author of ‘Go Live! 10 Principles to
Launch a Global Empire’.