Can you guess why college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs became hugely successful billionaires? Or what makes sporting icons such as Ronaldo, Roger Federer, and Sachin Tendulkar different?

The answer lies in their mindset. They have a success mindset that allows them to think positively and focus on getting the job done instead of fixating on the hurdles. People with a success mindset are driven to achieve their goals, whether they’re from the world of business, entertainment, or sports.

Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck says in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, that success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be influenced by our mindset or how we think about our talents and abilities.

Two basic mindsets shape our lives: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities cannot change and they tend to focus on the familiar. On the other hand, those with a growth mindset are more open and ready to take on challenges.

The two types of mindsets

Let’s look at both mindsets in detail.

  1. Fixed Mindset:

Imagine this. You have to participate in a marathon in a year’s time. As soon as you are told you need to run 20 km to complete the race, your heart sinks.

Your first thought is, “I have never run even one kilometer at a stretch. There is no way I can run 20.”

No amount of cajoling by friends or a coach can make you do it. You believe your body has pre-defined physical limits and a marathon is way beyond your capabilities.

If your mind tells you that your ability to perform a given task is unchangeable, then you have a fixed mindset.

  1. Growth Mindset:

Let’s revisit the scenario above.

As soon as you are told you need to run 20 km to complete the marathon, your mind started planning.

The first thought is, “I have never run even one kilometer at a stretch. I need to practice hard to be able to run 20 km.”

Do you see the difference?

People with a growth mindset approach challenges positively. They understand the difficulties but don’t surrender. They look for ways to achieve their goal.

You can develop a growth mindset by following the three A’s of setbacks—Accept, Assess, and Act—to overcome any limiting thoughts.

The importance of one’s mindset

The Beatles icon George Harrison once said, “It’s all in the mind.”

He couldn’t have been more right.

Let’s travel back to the days when you were in school and struggled with your accounts classes. You studied extra hours, even took tuitions, and tried to pay more attention to the teacher.

But nothing seemed to help.

Today, you run a business and are efficiently settling your accounts. What’s the difference?

The reason you quickly learned something that seemed beyond your understanding earlier is a simple phenomenon known as an open mindset.

During your professional journey, it is your mindset that helps find a new job or get a promotion.

Let’s take a look at the story of Akash and Ankita to understand this.

Both work in an auto company’s sales team.

Akash has more experience, is better qualified, and knows the product better. Yet, Ankita’s sales numbers are higher while Akash struggles to match his past performances.

He goes to his manager for advice. The manager listens to him and tells him the truth.

“You are struggling because you are stressed. You are perpetually competing with Ankita instead of analyzing where you are going wrong. If you approach your job with a peaceful mindset, you will also hit good numbers.”

That’s the secret right there. People with a positive mindset believe in self-improvement, whereas those with fixed mindsets are prone to giving up when faced with challenges.

Developing an open mindset or a growth mindset

Developing a growth mindset is simple.  Here are some highly effective steps that can help you achieve mental peace and a creative mindset.

  1. More significant challenges at the start 

We are generally at the top of our abilities at the start of the day. Hence, there is no better time to take on the most challenging tasks of the day than the beginning.

  1. Don’t sweat over things you can’t control 

You are all set to embark on the much-awaited trip to the mountains. Suddenly, news comes of a landslide, making it impossible to undertake the trip. Can you do anything about it?

Life keeps throwing such challenges, but you should focus only on the things that you can fix.

  1. What others think is their problem 

People who are overly conscious of others’ opinions and base their actions on the anticipated response of others are unlikely to make it big. You should focus only on your goals.

  1. Meditate, exercise, and enjoy the fresh air 

 Exercise and meditation are incredibly beneficial in keeping your body fit and your mind positive. Whenever you get tired of long work hours or feel fatigued, just take deep breaths or take a stroll to breathe in the fresh air.

Mindset is the key to success. No matter what someone tells you, it is possible to change your mindset and make it growth-oriented. Harappa Education’s Embracing Change course is specifically designed to develop grit and resilience by incorporating a growth mindset. It will help you learn from failures and reframe setbacks as growth opportunities.


Explore blogs on topics such as resilienceself-awarenessself-management, the meaning of charisma, and resilience examples in our Harappa Diaries section to go on a path of self-development.

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