Learn, grow and achieve

Your mindset (and why it matters)

The concept of mindset has been around since the 1920s. The work of psychologist Carol Dweck, holder of the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professorship of Psychology at Stanford University, exposed two clear mindsets – changing and improving the way people learn.

‘For decades I’ve been studying why some people succeed, while people who are equally talented do not. And over the years I have discovered that people’s mindset plays a crucial part in this process.'
 - Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

Mindsets have a major influence on people’s ability to learn. And those who use a growth mindset tend to learn, grow and achieve more than people with a fixed mindset.

There’s increasing awareness and adoption of mindset methodologies as a life skill. Sectors like sport, education and business, and especially entrepreneurs are starting to understand the power of mindset more, and how it relates to everything we do.

Fixed vs growth mindset

It’s important to point out that people don’t generally have one or the other, but a mixture of both. We’ll adopt different levels of fixed or growth mindset when we’re faced with different challenges.


The perspective that character, intelligence, and ability are fixed. You are not in control. Some people are simply naturally good at things and others are not. Focus is placed on the outcome, rather than the learning process.

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You can change and grow through effort, application and experience. You are in control. Skills and intelligence are grown and developed, focussing on the effort or process, rather than the outcome.

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Reflect on your mindset

To get started, ask yourself these questions to understand more about yourself, your motivations and reactions. 

  1. 1

    How would you generally describe your mindset?

  2. 2

    How would you describe it when faced with a challenge?

  3. 3

    Or when something goes wrong?

  4. 4

    Are there any areas in your life or work that provoke a fixed mindset?

  5. 5

    Or that you’ve recently overcome with a growth mindset?

Why is mindset important as an entrepreneur?

Because being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s probably one of the most difficult routes you can choose to go down, because you’re solely responsible for the success of that business. The entrepreneurial mindset is about a certain way of thinking that lets you approach challenges and make mistakes. It’s about a need to improve your skillset and try, try, and try again.

Do some more mental prodding

Think about your own journey and write down five situations (good and bad) that you maybe hadn’t planned for. Think about how you reacted to those situations.

Think about your examples in as much detail as you can, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Describe the situation you were faced with
  • What led to that situation?
  • How did you feel at the time?
  • How did you react in that moment?
  • What did you do as a result of that situation?
  • Did you take time to reflect on the situation afterwards?

Stay curious and use your willpower

Growth mindset is all about acknowledging when things aren’t working, but being curious enough and willing enough to do something about it. Trying and placing effort before failure means you can achieve anything that you apply effort and hard work to.


You can choose to react to a situation with either a fixed or growth mindset. You can see the difference between the two and the results from adopting each of them.

Typical fixed mindset reactions could include:

  • Creating blame
  • Showing anger
  • Exhibiting frustration
  • Having a negative impact on others in your team
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Typical growth mindset reactions could include:

  • Holding a debrief
  • Trying to understand more about the situation
  • Making improvements
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A formula for reflection

            Event + Reaction = Outcome

This helps you to reflect on situations either at the time, or after the event, to understand the outcome, and whether your reaction to the event was overall positive or negative.

What’s next?

If you’re keen to find out more about your mindset, then try understanding your mindset.

You could also start your learning journey (as part of a growth mindset) by finding out how to set your goals.