Your mindset is your belief system that influences your reaction to situations and your aspiration in life. Your mindset determines how you relate with people, how you handle difficult situations, your understanding of your capacity as well as your view of your future. Those who have a healthy mindset are strong, determined and not easily cowered. But reverse is the case for those whose mindset is feeble; they are weak and get easily weakened, they have a very narrow view of life and are usually pessimistic.
The tale of two salesmen
A long time ago, a shoe-making company based in Europe, wanting to develop its market in Africa, sent two of its salesmen to the continent on a fact-finding mission. After a few weeks in Africa, the two of them returned to the head office to give a report of their trip. One of the salesmen told his company not to bother about going to Africa because no one in the continent was wearing shoes; consequently, the prospect of selling shoes in the place was non-existent. The other salesman said while it was true that the people were not wearing shoes at the moment but by the time the company embarked on serious marketing to reveal to the people the benefits of wearing shoes, the company was going to make a killing in the continent.
Two people in the same situation came out with two different experiences because they had different mindsets. Your mindset determines your belief and your belief shapes your behaviour. What you believe determines how you do what you do and the level of efforts you put in. Mindset is critical to success in life.
In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Professor of Psychology at Stanford university, Carol Dweck, identifies two types of mindset; fixed mindset and growth mindset. In her explanation of the terms, Dweck says anyone with a fixed mindset believes his ability or capacity is fixed and incapable of changing. According to her, such people document their intelligence and talents rather than working to develop and improve them. However, people with growth mindset have an underlying belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. They believe they can get better no matter what their current situation is. This belief propels them to invest more time and effort and they end up hitting their set target.
The major difference between those with fixed mindset and the ones with growth mindset is that while the former always say “I cannot”, the latter always ask, “How can I?” While “I cannot” shuts down the brain from prospecting possibilities, “How can I?” prods the brain to find a way out of the labyrinth. Those with fixed mindset operate within the current reality, while those with growth mindset travel into the future to see what is possible.
Organisations run into a ditch when they believe there is just one way for them to experience abundance. They fail to look beyond the obvious and end up sinking in the rut despite the apparent availability of many opportunities around them because of the mindset of those who manage them.
Nokia: From paper milling to manufacturing 5G smartphone
Nokia, the telecommunication company, started in 1865 as a paper mill. By 1871 it had extended its operations to include rubber boots manufacturing. Over the years, the company has been involved in cable manufacturing, tyres and telecommunications infrastructure equipment, among other ventures. The company grew so well that by 2007 it produced more than half of all mobile phones sold on planet earth, and its Symbian mobile operating system commanded a 65.6 per cent global market share. Today, the company, which started as a small sole proprietorship in Finland, is a global brand. Its 5G telephone with new Snapdragon 765 chipset is billed for unveiling this month. Nokia has grown this much because it has been manned right from the outset by people with growth mindset.
How to develop success mindset
Success is a choice. To develop a success mindset requires making right choices.
Develop growth mindset
Although Professor Carol Dweck differentiates between fixed and growth mindset, she also says that anyone with a fixed mindset can wrest himself from the mindset and develop a growth mindset. This is achieved by disagreeing with the underpinning philosophy of a fixed mindset that capacity and situation cannot be changed. By merely changing from saying “I cannot” to “How can I?” the mindset is changed and instead of seeing difficulties the individual begins to see possibilities. As observed by Steve Maraboli, “Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” Corroborating that view, Tony Robbins also said, “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.” So, rather than seeing yourself as a victim of situations and circumstances, you begin to see yourself as one who determines the outcome that you get. Since, the final determination concerning outcomes lies with you, you then begin to do things that will turn the outcome in your favour.
Wean yourself off others’ validation
According to Winston Churchill, success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. Those who want to succeed greatly must learn not to despair when they fail because failure is nothing but a prelude to success. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently, according to Henry Ford. While it is great to have a shoulder on which you can lean when you fail, if you build your hope on external comfort you may be unable to get back on your feet when you fail. If you fail and there is no one to lend you a hand, find a reason to bounce back on your own. Let the joy of your eventual success drown the pain of your current failure. If you look around and there is no one to support you, then look inward. Be your own cheer leader. While you may draw inspiration from others, you have to be self-motivated to attain your goal. Don’t wait for others to prop you up. If you wait, you may end up being disappointed. Ask yourself if the goal is worth pursuing. Once you are convinced that it is worth your effort, don’t wait for anyone’s validation or encouragement, let your validation come from within.
A King’s Hobson’s choice
After an inter-communal war, a king was captured by another. The captured king had no doubt what his penalty would be; decapitation in the full glare of all and sundry. He resigned himself to fate and awaited his appointment with death. Then, his captor, determined to subject him to further ridicule, promised to spare him if he could take a glass filled to the brim with water over a distance of 100metres without spilling any bit of the liquid. The captor then lined up a side of the course with those who were to hail the captured king while the other side was filled with those who would boo him as he moved with the water-filled glass.
Knowing that he had a chance to cancel his rendezvous with death, the captured king decided to take the gamble. He was able to take the water-filled glass over the distance without spilling any part of it. His captor was surprised and asked him which of the two groups that lined the course motivated him to achieve the feat. The captive told him that he did not pay either of them any attention because he was focused on saving his life, his eyes were fixed on the finishing line; he was focused on hitting the finishing line without spilling as little as a nanolitre of water.
If the king had based his hope on those cheering him, he would have been distracted. If he had paid attention to those jeering him, he would have been discouraged. Either way, not only would he have spilled the water, he would have lost his head.
See challenges as opportunities
Problems and opportunities are two sides of a coin; you can’t have one without the other. As put by Napoleon Hill, “Every negative event contains the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” So, to be successful, you cannot afford to run away from problems. Everyone is rewarded for the problems they solve; the more important the problem you solve, the greater your reward will be.
Great leaders never avoid problems; they embrace problems with expectations. They keep searching until they find out where the opportunities in the problem are buried. They never stop turning around the situation until the opportunities turn up. With this attitude, they are never weighed down by the situation. They go about trying to solve the problem with the conviction that the situation will birth new opportunities for them.
Thomas Edison said many people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overall and look like work. To develop a success mindset, you must change the way you see challenges.
Do more than enough
There is a very thin line between successful people and average ones. While successful people do more than enough and stop at nothing to ensure that a goal is achieved, the average person merely does enough. He does not stretch himself beyond the minimum required. As a result of this disposition, he barely gets by; nothing of significance is ever achieved by those who merely do enough
Water boils at 100℃ degree Celsius but at 101℃, it becomes steam. There is a limit to what can be done with hot water. But steam is so powerful that it is used to power train.
Usein Bolt emerged winner of Men’s 100 metres race in the 2016 Summer Olympics finishing the race in 9.81 seconds to beat Justin Gatlin who finished the race in 9.89seconds. The difference between the winner and the first runner up was just 0.08 seconds but the difference in their rewards was humongous.
It is difficult to record success without embracing change. Many people are unable to move ahead in life because they are unwilling to let go of their comfort zone; they want to stay with the usual, forgetting that the only thing constant thing in life is change. But the truth is that unless we change, our lives cannot change. If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep having what we have always had. When we change we learn, when we change we grow, when we change we see new opportunities, when we change we get better. The level of success that is recorded by a person or an organization is the level of change they have accommodated. The more we change in the right direction, the better we become.
You cannot stop technological change, you cannot stop changes in the market, you cannot even change the stock market fluctuation. But if you ignore these changes, you do so at your own peril. Rather than ignoring or resisting the changes, you must determine how you want to respond to them because that is what will eventually determine the impact of the changes on you.
Success is within the reach of those who will make the right choices.