Growth Mindset: Unleash the Power within!


The key feature of the Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset is an eye-opener for me. In my own definition, Growth Mindset focuses on the positive ambition of a person to become great at anything. This means that if we can firmly believe that we can learn or achieve anything, definitely, we can.

Inspired by the author’s formula, here is my extended personal formula of Learning (anything):

LEARNING = Ambition + Persevering Effort + Time  + Methodology + Help from Others

On the other hand, having a fixed mindset focuses on its inherent abilities without recognizing how the abilities were acquired and neglecting the big opportunities for improvement. For me, this is a naïve way of magnifying its limitations rather than exploring the possibilities.

Based on my experience when I failed in my first business venture, having a malleable mindset helped me to persevere, work even harder and overcome my fears of trying another venture. I keep on learning every single day. In all my business struggles and challenges, I realized that ‘not quitting’ cannot guarantee that I will succeed. Above all this, I also realized that if I continue to be resilient and persevering, I am keeping myself on track and with great hope, success is on my way! To quote Steve Jobs, I am a believer in what he said, “Always achieve for more. Don’t waste time regretting the mistakes you’ve made. Learn from your mistakes and avoid making the same mistakes again. At the end of the day, all the dots will connect forming reasons as to why things have happened in your life”.

In my realization of this thought, I remember the book entitled: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” (Rashmi Bansal, 2008) where I learned that in studies, business or in life we should never be satisfied by what we have achieved in the past and we should always be eager to explore and learn new things. Otherwise, if we do, we will become obsolete and be left behind. This is one of the reasons why I am taking up this Executive MBA and pushing myself to my greatest potential.

As Herbert Spencer says, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” This is very true in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) that we should never stop learning and we should always persevere to achieve our dreams because the moment we get satisfied with what we already become, our lives will be in a stand-still in the midst of the fast-moving world. While my spiritual belief always whispers to be contented with I have, aiming at the next level is something that excites me.

On the implicit theories of intelligence, I agree with the author that students with a fixed mindset (entity theory) and malleable mindset (incremental theory) can affect the student’s goal, effort, perseverance, and resilience. Same with the students who possess the malleable mindset, I personally believe that students with a fixed mindset can also be appreciated in setting their goals and putting their efforts to achieve something. However, the distinction arises when the challenges and even failures come. The students under the incremental theory can be unstoppable to achieve their goals because they persevere and all obstacles along the way can be overwhelmed by their resilience. Just as the research revealed that there is a significant increase in the overall grade (0.23-grade points) showed by the incremental theory group of students. On the contrary, students with a fixed mindset tend to be succumbed by their emotions and failures.

When I took my CPA exams in the US back in 2013, I met many intelligent people who already accepted that they can’t reach their dreams due to many unsuccessful attempts, meanwhile, I have known a lot of fools who just kept on trying until succeed. Admittedly, I was one of those fools who thrived in my first attempt despite my financial constraints. I have met a guy who failed many times in the USCPA exams but because of his perseverance, he passed the exams on his fifth attempt. Now, he is one of the best professors in a top-tier Business School. Simply, when we don’t know our limits or we don’t focus on our limitations, then we don’t have a limit towards success!

Based on my personal experience, I share the same view with the author that intelligence can be developed through reading, training, and continuous practice. I also believe that the human’s brain is like a muscle that grows stronger through exercise i.e. learning new things. In the Blackwell, et al. study, it showed that math grades of students with a growth mindset increased from 2.55 points to 2.68 points. Meanwhile, the math grades of students under the control group with fixed mindset further declined from 2.5 points to 2.35 points. Also, the research showed that the teachers who are not aware of the student mix were able to single out 3 times as many students with a growth mindset (27 students) vs. students with a fixed mindset (9 students).

In my previous company, I was working under the Founder / Managing Partner who has a fixed mindset and not listening to any advice or suggestions. He is the person who thinks that he already knows everything and he does not need to improve or follow any suggestion from others. One year after I left that company, I came to know that the Founder was removed by other partners. This experience made me realize that it is good to know something and reach a certain status in life; however, the best thing we learned today is just temporary and will be obsolete tomorrow.

Bottom line, we only live once, so let us make every single day a stepping stone to achieve our full potential using the power within!

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