Do You Have A Growth Mindset?

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

It’s always satisfying to see an idea come to fruition. For most of us, achieving a goal will have a positive effect on motivation, spurring us on to achieve more.

‘The growth mindset’ is something Dr Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University has analysed in minute detail. In her book, Mindset, Dweck points out the difference between a ‘growth mindset’ and a ‘fixed mindset’. According to her research:

Growth mindset is a belief that a person’s most basic capabilities can be developed into meaningful skills through dedication and hard work. Having the tools to succeed (competence and some form of talent) are only the starting points.

Fixed mindset is a belief that a person’s innate abilities and any skills they may possess are fixed, meaning they are just traits.

Dr Dweck concluded in her book that people who believe they can develop their talents through practice and further education (formal or informal) have a growth mindset. These people are more likely to achieve success when compared to those who have a fixed perspective.

Sounds obvious right?

Well, at times it’s difficult to differentiate between the two. Dweck points out that a person with a growth mindset may not even be engaged in business. On the other hand, someone with a fixed mindset might subconsciously be dragging his/her business down.

Therefore, what are the traits one has to adopt to maintain a growth mindset?


To grow, you need to be willing to accept responsibility for your actions, especially when things go wrong. Fostering a culture of accountability will add value to your team, making it part of your culture. Ideally, your employees follow your lead, also adopting a 100% accountability work ethic.

Discouraging Envy

Focusing on what others have achieved can be counter-productive when growing a startup. Don’t waste your time fantasizing about (or worse still, plotting) your competitor's demise — it probably won’t happen anyway. Focus on what you already have, on the good you have already achieved. Capitalise on it.

Let your successes, no matter how small, drive and fuel you.

Become The Expert

There’s nothing wrong with skimming the surface — all experts had to start from somewhere. However, it’s essential to further your understanding to grow.

Remaining an amateur forever won’t cut it. As the internet becomes saturated with fake news, providing your clients or audience with well-researched, accurate facts becomes increasingly important. It’s also a good idea to specialise and not remain general in your goals.

Stand out in your own niche.

Embrace Failures

Failures are the best way to get to know your weaknesses. Exploit them to become better at your craft. While past failures are an essential part of the learning process, it’s also important not to dwell on them. Overthinking previous mistakes can give competitors too much leverage against you.

Remember, they probably made the same mistakes a few years ago.

Embrace your failures, exploit the lessons of ‘what-not-to-do’. The more you learn, the more your potential you have to grow in the right direction.

Accept The Fact — It’s Not Easy

Growing steadily doesn’t happen overnight or easily. You have to put in the time and effort to see results.

Put in 10%, and you’ll be lucky to see a return of 2%. Put in 100%, and your chances of growth are significantly better.

Go that extra mile everyone else decides not to — it will set you apart from the crowd.

Do What You Love…

…for people that love what you do. Growing your blog, business or following isn’t easy; if you’re going to be dedicating time and energy to it, might as well pick something you enjoy doing.

Your passion will trickle down to your audience. they’ll seek you out because of the added value you offer. It’s also more satisfying when you succeed.

It’s Not About The Money

A slightly controversial one.

Your primary aim should be to deliver what your clients or audience want, not to make money. You want anyone who deals with you (or reads your articles) to have the best possible experience — making money is the byproduct of it.

The same applies to your employees (if you have any). Having a workforce that is proud to be a part of your team means you will have internal as well as external fans.

These are the keys to growing, not the balance sheets.

Perfection Is Elusive

Hit your goals in rapid succession, don’t obsess over your product. Offering something worthwhile is important, but constantly aiming for perfection has the potential to be your downfall.

Getting to the market first has more value than being perfect, but arriving after all the sales have been made. The first-mover advantage is very important for growth.

Appreciate What You Have Achieved

Look back at the progress you have made so far — it’s something to be proud of. Then look at the road ahead — you can be proud of the direction you’re taking.

Remaining positive works wonders and will draw like-minded people towards you. Gratitude is essential for a growth mindset.

Being negative will only slow you down.

Keep Your Vision Clear

Things will change as you grow. What is your purpose?

Having a clear vision to work towards will ensure you don’t loose focus on the original goals you set out to achieve, as well as make you aware of yourself and the changes you’ve gone through along the way.

It will also keep you in check by providing a reference point — use this to balance your power and humility.

The Moral Of The Story

Growth mindset is the belief that your skills and abilities can be improved and developed, thus growing you in the direction of your choice. It doesn’t have to be business-oriented; most academics apply the same concepts to education.

Growth relies on a culture whereby all those involved are encouraged and supported to develop positive growth mindsets for themselves. This will have a multiplier effect on progress achieved.

Failures should be embraced as learning opportunities and not seen as threats. Leaders need to lead by example and encourage employees to be brave risk-takers (within reason). Each failure is an opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate.

Finally, a growth mindset is not easy to achieve and requires constant, hard work.

Just because you put your mind to something, doesn’t mean it will happen overnight.

But we all have to start from somewhere. Good Luck!

Dweck, C., 2017. Dr. Dweck’S Research Into Growth Mindset Changed Education Forever. [online] mindsetworks. Available at: <https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/> [Accessed 10 August 2020].




Daniel is a writer, senior teacher and geographer based in Malta. His main passion is empowering students to fulfill their aspirations and reach their goals.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The Cold LIT Problem

In Conversation: Henry Bee of CoPilot Advisor

Overwatering: The #1 Killer of Mother’s Day Plants, and Unsold Leads

Learning from the best: How to master corporate innovation

7 EdTech Startups To Watch

How To Master Sales as an Entrepreneur without a Sales Background

Picture of an apple exchanging hand during a sales transaction

Business advice for software developers

How to Value a Pre-Seed Startup?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Daniel Caruana Smith

Daniel Caruana Smith

Daniel is a writer, senior teacher and geographer based in Malta. His main passion is empowering students to fulfill their aspirations and reach their goals.

More from Medium

Balancing a healthy company culture with remote working

How’s Your VER?

Doug Haynes: Success in Business Comes From Success With People

People meeting in windowed room with backlight

Stop Being So Laid-Back In the Workplace : Business Big News