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Mindset is everything.

And I mean ​everything.

It doesn’t matter if you have the best strategies, systems, or staff. If your mindset isn’t right, you will never succeed.

There are so many mindset issues I’ve seen over the years, but it all starts with this:

Whether you have a fixed or a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset is one that believes intelligence, endurance, creativity, etc., are all static. You’re stuck with what you’re born with, and that’s all there is to it. 

A growth mindset is one that believes none of these attributes are static, but they all can be improved upon. The growth mindset believes you’re ​not​ stuck with what you’re born with, and you have the power within yourself to increase your stats, albeit not endlessly. 

Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success explains her research in which the most basic beliefs we possess about ourselves (how smart, creative, strong, funny, etc. we are) have a profound influence on our ability to succeed (or not) in life.

In a nutshell, if we think we’re smart, we are more likely to make smart decisions.

I have experienced this in my own life. I used to think I wasn’t a very nice person, so guess what? I acted like a not very nice person. When I changed my mindset to thinking of myself as a nice person, I started acting like one.

But our attitudes and behaviours are somewhat easier to change than something like how smart we are, right? Aren’t those attributes fixed?

If you have a fixed mindset, you’re nodding and saying, “Yes” right now.

If you have a growth mindset, you’re saying, “No, of course not.”

I have a growth mindset. I believe I have the power to change my stats, to a certain extent.

I think of it like a character in a role playing game, like Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, Warhammer, or my current obsession Lineage II Revolution. (Did I mention I’m a geek?)

When you start a new character in an online role playing game, you get to choose your race and your class, each with its own set of attributes. Traditionally an Elf (race) Mage (class) will have higher intelligence than a Human (race) Warrior (class). But the Human Warrior will have higher strength and stamina.

That’s not to say a Human Warrior can’t aspire to have higher intelligence or an Elf Mage can’t aspire to have higher strength, but their baselines are predetermined at birth. Or, in this case, when you click the button that says, “create character.”

Just like a character in an RPG, we all start off with a certain amount of attribution points distributed among different attributes. Some of us are born smarter, stronger, or with more stamina than others, but that’s not to say we’re permanently stuck with what we’re born with. And, just like in an RPG, you’re able to improve your stats — within reason. A Human Warrior and an Elf Mage of the same level will never have identical stats, but each will always have room for improvement.

I will never have the same intelligence as Stephen Hawking, or the same strength as Floyd Mayweather, but my growth mindset tells me I am able to work on increasing my stats.

My growth mindset tells me there is always room for improvement.

And in my experience that is ​key​ to success in life and in business.

If I didn’t believe I could increase my stats, I wouldn’t keep trying. I wouldn’t be able to persevere in the face of adversity. I would get complacent, bored, and eventually, I would fade away.

What about your mindset? Is it fixed or oriented to growth? Let me know in the comments.

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