Growth Mindset is an approach to life in which an individual believes that one's talents, intelligence, and abilities can always be developed.Here I explain in detail what it consists of, why it is important to your success, and how to develop it.

Have you ever felt (or been told) that either you have what it takes to excel at something or you might as well give it up?

I hear this a lot in the business world, too: it seems that the quality of being an entrepreneur must be innate-because, otherwise, starting and running a successful business seems virtually impossible.

Of course, a good dose of talent always comes in handy (and in some cases it is obvious that it makes a difference)...

But do we really have to settle for what comes easy to us and let everything else go?

Do we really need to become aware of our abilities, focus exclusively on those and avoid investing our resources in anything else, on pain of failure and failure?

Or said otherwise: do you have to be a genius to be successful?

Einstein said that genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work...

Therefore, since each of us has the freedom to do what we want, the real difference is made by him: the mindset.

Mindset means mentality: it is the way you approach life in general and consequently also your work.

How we think about ourselves and our abilities can have a significant impact on our performance, at work, during studies and in everyday life. Developing the right kind of mindset marks the difference between hiding from life's challenges and facing them with confidence.

Even more, in business, we talk specifically about Growth Mindset, i.e., growth mindset: it is based on the belief that everyone can find opportunities and resources to start their own business and is an invaluable resource in the startup world, for example.

Have you read or heard anything about it yet?

Maybe you do or maybe you don't, but maybe you don't know exactly what it is-and now you're wondering how it might come in handy.

Continue reading the article-I will explain what Growth Mindset means, what characteristics it has, why it is essential for every entrepreneur, and how to develop it.

What does Growth Mindset mean?

Growth Mindset literally means "growth mindset": it is the belief that you can develop your skills and talents through hard work, the right strategies, effort, learning and perseverance. 

It concerns the attitude with which a person faces challenges, how he or she processes failures, and how he or she adapts and evolves accordingly.

It is a term coined by the American psychologist Carol Dweck, who in his book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" published in 2006 investigated how an individual's underlying belief about his or her intelligence and ability to learn affects his or her performance.

In fact, Dweck argues that there are two attitudes toward failure, which, in turn, predict your success: you can see your talents and abilities as innate and fixed, and therefore limited, and therefore view each failure as a real defeat (sort of like "the end of the world"); or you can view each difficulty and failure in your journey as an exciting new opportunity.

This means Growth Mindset: seeing possibilities instead of obstacles, favorable conditions instead of disadvantages, choosing to challenge yourself to learn more rather than staying in your comfort zone.

Viewing the brain as a muscle that becomes stronger with practice, those with a growth mindset persist despite setbacks and welcome feedback as a vehicle for personal growth; seek opportunities to learn, acquire new skills and improve existing ones; learn from criticism; and seek inspiration in the success of others.

Using Dweck's own words, "Growth Mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities can be cultivated through your own efforts. Although people may differ in every way-in initial talents, aptitudes, interests or temperaments-. everyone can change and grow through application and experience."

Read also: Coaching and mentoring: 5 differences and how to choose; Interview with Antonio Panico, Italy's No. 1 business coach.

Growth Mindset: the characteristics

Those with a growth mindset believe that they can improve at anything as long as they put time, effort and energy into it.

Working on one's shortcomings and the process, rather than the result, is definitely one of the most important components, enabling one to be able to achieve what one wants.

growth mindset

You may be wondering then: how do you know whether you have a Growth Mindset or not?

Indeed, the answer is not always obvious or obvious.

First, know that there is no "pure" growth mindset, meaning that we all adopt different mindsets depending on the situation we find ourselves in.

For example, you might take risks and behave more openly in business, but appreciate routine and be more resistant to change in your personal life.

No clear line separates the two types of thinking.

However, there are some signs that suggest you may be leaning toward a growth mindset, in particular: 

  • Believe that results are due to effort, not just innate talent;
  • You are willing to learn from your mistakes and find value in criticism;
  • You believe that your intelligence and skills can be developed;
  • You are willing to ask questions and admit when you don't know something;
  • You seek challenging tasks and take risks.

So if we want to summarize the characteristics of the Growth Mindset, we can identify 4 distinctive elements of this mindset:

#1 Effort and perseverance are key

Early in his career, Dweck intentionally gave his students a problem that was difficult enough for them. Some reacted enthusiastically ("I love a challenge!") and got to work, while others quickly gave up .

Enthusiastic students, those who embodied a growth mindset, recognized the challenge as an opportunity to learn and improve. They believed that effort and persistence would eventually lead to resolution.

#2 Mistakes and failures are part of learning

Believing one is born with a certain skill or intelligence makes any mistake seem risky and is often at the root of the fear of failure; any challenge poses a potential threat to the need to "appear smart."

In contrast, people with a growth mindset tend to love learning and all that comes with it, including mistakes and errors: rather than avoiding them, they see them as a crucial part of the process. 

growth mindset

#3 The power of "anchor"

There is a reason why this 6-letter word is considered magical: adding it to any sentence creates a huge change in perception: "I can't do this...YET."

No other word captures the meaning of growth mindset so effectively. Dweck notes that "AGAIN" can give greater confidence, offer a path to the future that creates greater perseverance. 

Instead of thinking "I can't reach that goal," think "I still can't reach that goal."

"Still" helps you remember that good things are coming, it's just a matter of time and commitment.

#4 Resilience

Resilience, or the ability to bounce back, cannot exist without obstacles: it means standing tall in the face of difficulties.

We all face trauma, challenges and stressors, but when we believe our intellectual and social skills can be developed, we achieve better results and experience less pressure.

Cultivating the right kind of mindset can make the difference between a successful life and one limited by fear of failure. A growth mindset means acceptance of (and even celebration of) difficulties, with an emphasis on effort and hard work leading to success.

The benefits of the Growth Mindset

I guess you know: in business, the ability to learn and grow after a setback is one of the keys to success.

And the Growth Mindset can really make the difference between simply surviving or thriving in today's rapidly changing world.

People with a growth mindset are always looking for ways to improve, whether that means learning new skills, trying new strategies, or making changes to the way they work; when faced with a snub or failure, they know how to recover more quickly and see problems not as obstacles to progress, but as opportunities for growth.

Promoting this positive, forward-looking approach can therefore be an essential tool if you operate in business, whether you are just starting out or are a more experienced entrepreneur. 

Studies show that when management promotes the right mindset among team members, it encourages learning, development and new ideas. Workplaces that cultivate a growth mindset at the organizational level are more innovative, inspired and efficient.

Leaders who embrace the Growth Mindset do not stick to the usual guidelines just to preserve their fragile egos: instead, they accept challenges and courageously take risks, helping the company grow.

So let's see in detail what are the benefits of Growth Mindset that make it so useful when starting and growing your business:

Stimulate your creativity

Those with a growth mindset are more likely to accept challenges, use feedback and learn from failures and mistakes rather than dwell on them. This means enjoying learning new things and being more creative through a willingness to always pursue new solutions.

By focusing on improving yourself rather than "protecting" yourself, you will not feel threatened by the intelligence and success of others. Instead, you will be more inclined to admire them, learn from them and find inspiration in their successes.

It makes you feel free

A growth mindset offers more freedom to reach your full potential and stay in line with your values, instead of being held back by limiting beliefs. This freedom makes everything possible-and brings with it the courage and motivation to strive, fail and strive again. 

When you have a growth mindset, your past does not define your future. This can be an advantage if you have expertise and experience in another field and wish to pursue a path as an entrepreneur.

Read also: The most beautiful phrases about freedom: the best quotes; The 9 best motivational podcasts (in Italian); How to have what you never had: the best motivational phrases)

Improve your leadership skills

A growth mindset can help you become more "adaptable." Rather than feeling overwhelmed or threatened by big changes, you are more likely to see them as opportunities to learn and reinvent yourself. You can embrace new challenges and use them to your advantage.

A growth mindset helps you cultivate a positive attitude. When you believe that your capacity to improve your talents is unlimited, failure stops being something to be afraid of. You can face challenges with optimism and confidence, which makes you a better leader and promotes a more positive work environment.

It makes you stronger

We said it earlier: resilience, or the ability to bounce back and overcome difficult situations, is crucial in the business world. When challenges, setbacks and failures inevitably arise, the survival of your business depends on your ability to persevere and learn from difficult situations.

Allows you to make your offerings changeable and adaptable

"It is more productive to think of entrepreneurship as an iterative process, a way of managing that involves continually seeking a winning combination of opportunities and resources," says William Sahlman, Harvard professor of economics.

This continuous process of testing an idea, learning from the results, and reiterating the product is only possible with a growth mindset, using negative feedback and constructive criticism to improve one's product offering.

With a growth mindset, discovering weaknesses in your product does not result in the inability to create a value proposition: rather, it allows you to create the best version for your target market.

It keeps you humble

The Growth Mindset constantly reminds you that there is always more to learn. Knowing that you have the ability to improve, a growth mindset can keep you humble throughout your entrepreneurial journey.

Not only that, as people's needs, attitudes and motivations change over time, remember to periodically reconsider your product's suitability for the market.

If you become too comfortable with your initial knowledge, you may miss the opportunity to grow with your target audience and meet their needs as they arise.

Promotes productivity

Research has shown that employees who adopt a growth mindset pursue more innovative and challenging projects, are more committed to their work and have a desire to learn, grow and thrive. They also work more collaboratively and behave more transparently. 

They will also feel more motivated to do their best, since they know that progress comes from this. However, at the same time, they will understand that making a mistake does not mean failure, but an opportunity to learn from them and improve. This means that they will come out of the setback more determined and motivated than ever.

This can provide positive results for smaller companies, for example, which often work with limited resources.

Read also: 9 strategies to increase productivity

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset: the difference

To better understand the concept of Growth Mindset, it is useful to introduce its opposite, the so-called Fixed Mindset.

That's right, as the words suggest, it means "fixed mindset" and is always a product of Dr. Dweck's research.

growth mindset

She herself, in her aforementioned book, gives us the definition for both approaches:

Growth Mindset

"In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic skills can be developed through dedication and hard work: brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience essential to achieving great things." (Dweck, 2015)

Fixed Mindset

"In a fixed mindset, people believe that their basic qualities, such as their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success, effortlessly." (Dweck, 2015)

While therefore the former is focused on self-improvement and development over time, the latter is essentially the belief that abilities are innate and fixed from birth. 

Whether a person prevails in one or the other mindset has a significant impact on his or her learning experience: he or she may thus give up when faced with a problem that seems without solution and admit defeat, limiting his or her opportunities for growth, or continually work to improve his or her skills, ultimately achieving success.

If, as I showed you just now, the advantages of the Growth Mindset are several, the drawbacks or disadvantages of a Fixed Mindset are no less: it leads to avoidance of challenges, giving up easily and and seeing little meaning in the effort toward a goal.

So what happens if we talk about the management of a business or company?

Well, we can safely assume that a fixed mindset prevents its positive evolution: if you are convinced that if you don't try, you can't fail, and that if you never fail you can preserve the feeling of innate success, you will understand that you are inevitably destined to stagnate in your puddle.

Thus, instead of surrounding yourself with one or more teams that you support and collaborate with, you would rather be a big fish in a small pond; not only that, the desire to avoid failure at all costs would more easily lead you to ignore the needs, feelings and contributions of others.

A Fixed Mindset prevents you from listening to outside viewpoints or constructive criticism (because they might suggest that there is something to improve in your work), shuts you off from growth and change, and makes you shut out anyone who challenges the status quo.

Eventually, a fixed mindset can lead to performance anxiety and toxicity at work. How can positive change happen in such an environment? In short: It can't.

growth mindset

Very good. Now that you are clear about what Growth Mindset actually is and what sets it apart, let's move on to the next important issue: how you can acquire and maintain it.

Read also: Cognitive Biases: What are they? 9 types (with examples); MINDSET: How to succeed in life; Interview with Luca Mazzucchelli, Italy's first digital psychologist.

Growth Mindset: how to develop it in 8 simple steps

The Growth Mindset is definitely the product of experience, observation and lifelong learning; but with practice, determination and commitment, you can succeed in developing it.

Here are eight simple steps that can help you: 

#1 Have confidence

First, you have to believe that you can do it.

Use a daily mantra or something similar; convince yourself that you are capable of all the change you need. It may take some work to instill this in yourself, but by reminding yourself what you are aiming for-growth and fulfillment-you can definitely do it.

#2 Take responsibility.

Avoid blaming circumstances or others for your shortcomings: you must recognize that you are responsible for your future and make the most of your innate talents and abilities. So next time take a step back, take responsibility, learn your lesson and move on.

#3 Be "hungry"

Those who seek change must also be curious: marvel at how much you don't know and get used to the feeling. Not knowing is not cause for fear or shame, but for excitement. 

Seek new perspectives: i books are an invaluable source of new ideas and viewpoints and can expose you to new ways of seeing the world that you had not considered before. Exploring new topics with an open mind can also help you see existing challenges in a new light, making it easier to identify solutions that you might otherwise have missed.

#4 Allow yourself to be wrong

As uncomfortable as it may be, it is essential to try and fail-and try again. Every failure is a stepping stone on the road to success-I'm sure I don't need to remind you of the many celebrities who failed miserably at first and then became leaders, influencers, and role models.

Read also: Elon Musk: biography, companies, heritage; Interview with Giorgia Sottana and Gabriele Bani; Interview with Valeria Cagnina, robotics and tech expert.

You won't get everything right the first time you try. Allow yourself to make mistakes and then learn from those missteps: when you come to recognize that this is just a new way of learning, you will stop being so afraid of it.

#5 Look further

Leave your comfort zone and feel at home operating outside of it. For many of us, the comfort zone is a refuge, a place to go to get rid of what we perceive as problems or challenges to our serenity. However, "free from challenges" also means "free from growth." Push yourself further and grow.

Try a completely new activity and challenge yourself to learn something you are not already good at. Take on a project doing something you have no experience with; try a new hobby, play a new sport, or try your hand at something you've never done before.

growth mindset

#6 Focused on the pathway.

Do not overemphasize results. Of course, they are the ones that ultimately count, but don't forget to reward yourself for your efforts. Well-deserved praise for a valiant attempt can sustain you in the long run. When the going gets tough, the process is critical.

#7 Be inspired

Seeing other people as friends and source of inspiration, rather than as enemies or mere competitors, can take you much farther. In this way, you will create honest and strong relationships with others and increase your chances for growth.

Be aware that excessive envy can play tricks on you. When faced with another person's success, think, "I will use his example as a model for what I want to achieve." Use admiration as a tool to guide you along your way. 

(Read also: Best philosophical phrases to inspire you at work)

#8 Be brave

Put yourself in difficult situations to help you practice your new voice.

Don't let the protection of your ego stand between you and changes that could make you happier and more successful. A growth mindset will push you into areas where you feel less comfortable, less accomplished, and more afraid. The ego does not like this, but listening to it leads to the path of mediocrity. If you want to shine and excel, you must be ready to challenge it.


"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: what matters is the courage to continue." 

These wise words of Churchill perfectly sum up what the growth mindset is all about: seeing opportunities instead of obstacles.

This means looking at failure as a chance to further develop your abilities, instead of locking yourself in your cocoon and hiding from the world. Not only that, it also means admitting that the people who "made it" out there were born no different from us. They are ordinary people who have made themselves extraordinary.

We all have times when we feel that we will never get better at something or that we are destined to fail at particular tasks. The difference is you and how much you are ready to give: work, fail, start over, plan, experiment and finally celebrate your success.

But tell me, how do you feel after reading this article?

Do you think you already have a growth mindset?

Let me know in the comments!

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