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KEY 037: Developing the Mindset of an Entrepreneur

Fixed mindset vs growth mindset

You’ve likely heard someone say, and maybe you’ve even said it yourself, “mindset is everything.”


While that’s true to some extent because it’s a foundation for all other components to your success; motivation, discipline, overcoming adversity, and more.


Most of us haven’t spent much time exploring what mindset is and how to make sure we have the right mindset for success.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

Just understanding that a mindset of abundance is critical to success doesn’t help us develop that mindset. In fact, for many of us, it's frustrating because we know it’s critical but we can’t figure it out. Most people think the mindset of a winner is nothing more than having a positive and happy attitude.

To really understand the mindset of an entrepreneur it’s important to comprehend the difference between a “growth mindset” and a "fixed mindset." This is how mindset is explained in Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Let me explain the critical difference and how she came to this profound conclusion. 

When Carol Dweck looked at why some kids push through adversity and even enjoy the challenges life presents to them, she made a stark discovery. The kids who loved the challenge had this thing she called a “growth mindset.”

Were You Praised for Your Effort or Your Ability?

Carol's discovery was linked back to how and why some kids were praised and what that meant for other kids. When a child is praised for their intelligence (“wow, you’re so smart”) it felt great and empowered them, but it was based on a fixed element: intelligence.

Your success isn't dependent on your natural talent but rather on your ability to persevere through all the challenges.

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When kids are praised for something they believe is fixed, they begin to think success and praise will come if you have “the gift” but what about when you don’t have that natural talent? That’s when they tend to give up and not push through.

On the other hand, when kids are praised for their effort rather than their ability, they develop this mindset of greatness which is what Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset. This is based on the idea that one’s success isn’t fixed or dependent on current or natural talent or ability, but rather on one’s ability to push through and persevere through the struggles. This conditions one to believe that success is attainable for everyone regardless of current circumstances.

The Incredible Power of "Scaffolding."

In this episode of The Key, John Hawkins Jr. explains a parenting and coaching term known as “scaffolding.” When we act as a support for our kids during their challenging times, refusing to take over the struggle for them but praising them as they pushed through, we condition them to believe they can achieve more than they’re currently capable of doing.

When a child is never required to push through adversity or when a parent or coach takes over in the midst of adversity, they never learn to embrace or even enjoy the challenge. Success never comes to them because they never reach beyond their current challenge.

A fixed mindset ultimately leads to one having a fear of failure because failure is finite when you can’t change your ability. You’re doomed to always fail in that area. Unfortunately, this leads to a feeling of inadequacy and even shame.

Most people with a fixed mindset push back against any sort of feedback or critique of their performance because you’ve attacked their very person, their existence. But when you critique someone with a growth mindset they embrace it because they see that as feedback they can use to get through their current challenges.

How to Shift From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

One of the most important actions you can take right now to help yourself shift your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is to engage with and consume stories about overcoming challenges. The more we are exposed to people who overcome their challenging circumstances the more we realize the same is possible for us.

It’s also critical for you to surround yourself with others who have a growth mindset. These are the people who will encourage you to push on. These are the people who will implement that scaffolding principle with you. The more you push and achieve any level of success, the more your mindset will shift.

If you’re looking for that sort of support group to help you make that mindset shift, consider joining some sort of mastermind group made up of people who have a growth mindset. Start one of your own or consider The Alliance which is a private high-level mastermind group for entrepreneurs we’re in the process of forming right now.

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