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What’s the Difference Between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset?

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If you plan to be an entrepreneur, many people will tell you that there are certain skills and knowledge you must have to be successful.

Often people think that you either have an entrepreneurial mindset or you don’t – which isn’t the case at all. One of the main skills that an entrepreneur should have is a growth mindset; a way of thinking that can propel them, and their business, to success.

A growth mindset and a fixed mindset are two very different things but don’t worry if you find yourself in a fixed mindset as it’s easy to achieve and maintain a different perspective.

Whether you’re studying for your degree or have already started your career, it’s never too late to live your dreams of being an entrepreneur. All it takes is a switch in the way you look at things.

How are fixed and growth mindsets different?

The main difference between these two states of mind is that someone with a growth mindset believes that intelligence and talent are ongoing journeys through which everyone can improve. People with a fixed mindset believe the opposite; that talent and intelligence are static and cannot be improved upon.

Whether you’re looking to become an entrepreneur and run your own business, or trying to be the best employee you can be, it is often best to take a growth mindset approach.

A growth mindset means that you embrace the flaws and mistakes that you make along the way, using them as opportunities to grow so you can improve in the future.

Using a growth mindset approach, you understand that the learning process is long and that setbacks are normal. This positive approach will lead you to feel more empowered to improve and to meet your goals.

On the other hand, if you adopt a fixed mindset, you’ll be tempted to hide your mistakes because you see them as ‘failures’. This prevents you from giving yourself the opportunity to learn and move on from your errors.

Instead, you may feel ashamed of your work, together with a lack of motivation to make changes within your professional life.

In many situations, adopting a growth mindset is preferable as it will help you to:

Why do entrepreneurs need a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is important in all aspects of your personal and professional life, but entrepreneurs in particular must adopt this mindset if they want to be successful.

Here are some of the reasons why entrepreneurs need to possess a growth mindset:

You’re able to build resilience

As an entrepreneur, you have to deal with more setbacks than the average business professional. When testing prototypes, fixing issues with products, and pitching your ideas to investors, you will likely have to deal with multiple mistakes and rejections.

If you have a fixed mindset, you may feel inclined to give up after you receive your first “no”, which could stop you from being able to improve your product or service.

If you have a growth mindset, you’ll be able to recover from and move through difficult situations, such as being told “no” by an important potential investor. Your business’s survival depends on your ability to take constructive criticism, navigate issues, and create the best products and services possible.

A growth mindset helps you to build strong resilience, giving you the moment to push forward and make your business a success.

You always stay humble

Learning doesn’t stop as soon as you’ve created the first iteration of your product. To keep up with expanding markets and changing customer expectations, you need to be ready to learn new things, improve on your product, and be inspired by other people’s success.

Staying humble during your entrepreneurial journey will prevent you from losing incentive, instilling in you that there is never an end to improvements and learning. The sooner you’re able to listen to others and work to make your products better than before, the sooner you’ll achieve your targets.

You’re open to new opportunities

If you have a fixed mindset, you might feel put off by new opportunities. However, if you let certain chances pass you by, it could be harmful for your business.

Having a growth mindset means that you embrace challenges and opportunities so you can use them to your advantage. It may lead you to opportunities that could pivot the direction of your business, discovering new avenues for success that you had not anticipated. 

How can you develop a growth mindset?

If you feel that you have a fixed mindset, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to change the way you think in order to develop a growth mindset.

Here are a few things you can do to help develop more flexible thinking patterns:

  • Give yourself time every day to reflect on what you did well and what you could improve on
  • Read and learn more about other entrepreneurs and how they apply a growth mindset
  • Change your perspective on what failure is; it’s not the end, but a diversion
  • Understand your own limitations and look for ways to improve on them
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it
  • Turn your negative feelings into positive ones, instead of saying “I can’t do that” ask, “What can I do to help me do XXX?”
  • Start seeing challenges as opportunities
  • Don’t seek constant approval from others

If innovation and entrepreneurship interest you, you can learn more about how to develop your entrepreneurial skills and succeed in today’s rapidly evolving business world through our Innovation & Entrepreneurship programs.

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