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Picture this: you walk into your home to find your sofa flipped upside down with the cushions ripped out, your mail is strewn across the floor, your delightful decorative bowl of fruit is smashed, and worst of all your antique mug collection is gone! You quickly call the police to let them know your home has been burglarized. The cops peel around the corner with sirens blaring and detectives are on the scene.
A young officer says to his partner, “This is the third house this week. How are we going to catch this guy?”
The silver haired officer smirks, “To catch a thief you have to think like one.” The camera immediately fades to a pulse pounding montage of magnifying glasses, furious typing, and exasperated sighs.
We’ve all seen this in the movies and heard this sentiment. But how does it apply to financial success? It’s simple! (No, it’s not to go around burglarizing homes.) If you want to be a millionaire start by thinking like one. Entrepreneurs like Jack Ma, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk all share a similar mindset—one dedicated to growth.
Carol Dweck, a professor of Psychology at Stanford University, states there are two kinds of mindsets. One is the growth mindset and the other is a fixed mindset. To best understand the difference between each, imagine two kids, Walter and Sky.
Walter wants to make more money so he starts a business. His business is slow to start and he makes several colossal mistakes. Despite this he doesn’t give up. Walter finds a mentor, business partners, and distributors. He constantly asks for feedback every step of the way. He soon gets his product into all parts of the country and people can’t stop talking about him. Walter achieves an empire of success and sleeps on stacks of cash. Comfortable right?
Sky is different. She wants to make more money too, but she’s too afraid to start a business. She says it’s too hard, costs a lot of money, and doesn’t have any way to learn. She sees Walter’s success and feels threatened. At work when she receives constructive criticism she takes it personally. Although there’s an opportunity for a promotion she doesn’t put in the effort because she believes the company will never be able to pay her what she wants. Hopefully this doesn’t sound like you!
Grow like Walter, or stay stunted like Sky? I really want to sleep on stacks of cash, so I’d opt to be more like Walter. Carol Dweck would say that Walter possesses a growth mindset, while Sky has a fixed mindset. In other words, Walter is the kind of guy who takes on challenges, he perseveres through the obstacles, invites feedback, and looks at other’s successes as inspiration. Sky is the exact opposite. She avoids difficult situations, gives up before trying, cannot take criticism, and fears other’s achievements.
The lesson here is don’t be like Sky! Develop a growth mindset, all it takes is a little work. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- See your failures as opportunities to learn.
- Try something new even if you’re scared.
- Focus on the process, not just the result.
- When you receive criticism realize someone is trying to help you, not hurt you.
- Stay persistent!
It doesn’t mean if you do all this you’ll instantly end up rich. Sorry, that’s just not how it works. However, in the long run you’ll be equipped to take advantage of every opportunity. The slightest setback won’t deter you. Above all, you will love the challenges because you’ll see how they shape you.