The growth mindset favours action


So we have come to the penultimate Dimension, one that is also the end result of all growth mindset Dimensions, Forward. This is the action Dimension, and in a way, is where the rubber meets the road (pun intended, of course!). After all, it is pointless that one has growth tendencies for all the preceding Dimensions, and yet does not apply them to any action. Yet, the issue here is not whether they move or not, but HOW they move. So in this article, I will share the typical fixed and growth behaviours for this Dimension and how you can prime your actions for growth!

Yet the fixed tendencies are such that they are rooted on the need for clarity, and they often drag their feet in favour of being right. Decisions come painfully slow, if at all. In the end, the opportunities pass them by.

Fixed Tendencies

Obviously, if one does not move, either because they are paralysed by fear or there is an obsessive need to be right, this is the height of fixed tendencies for this Dimension. However, most people are not so extreme. Instead, typical fixed tendencies pertain to wanting to control the forward action. They want to plan every step of the way, and make sure they know exactly what they will get at each step, before they start moving. Now, we don't decry planning, as George Washington once said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Yet, the need to be clear about every step and to do more and more studies, gather more and more data, to ascertain that those steps are right, take far too much time. And in this day and age, where things are moving at break-neck speed, by the time you have completed all your data-gathering and plans, those plans would already be obsolete! Yet the fixed tendencies are such that they are rooted on the need for clarity, and they often drag their feet in favour of being right. Decisions come painfully slow, if at all. In the end, the opportunities pass them by.

Trust in oneself and in one's equipment are key to moving ahead.

Growth Tendencies

Those with growth tendencies can be heard saying, "Fortune favours the bold." While they know the general direction they want to take, they realise that they will not get there by simply pondering the many "what-ifs", Instead, they will take that first step, and allow that to guide the next step. If you look at the picture above, you can see a sports car moving fast in stormy and unclear conditions. The driver will have to rely on the car's headlights to see ahead. The journey may be some 100 kilometres, but the light can only illuminate 20m to 30m ahead. If the car is stationary, all the driver can see is up to 30m. There is no way he will know what the journey is like for the full 100km. He can only see the next 30m, and the next, by moving ahead. The driver must trust both the car's and his/her abilities, to handle any unforeseen situations. Trust in oneself and in one's equipment are key to moving ahead. This therefore links back to the Learning Dimension. If you are not competent in using your equipment and in managing your knowledge, you will have a harder time trying to respond to the changes that happen on the ground.


Building growth tendencies for the Forward Dimension

While the deliberate, planned approach to action has its place, especially when we are in a stable environment, this is increasingly seen as outmoded since the environment is in constant flux. Hence, building growth tendencies and behaviours in this Dimension is important. Here is how one can go about doing that:

But if you realise that this need for certainty is driven by what you think others would think of you if you failed, and then further realising that nobody really cares about you (since they are so focused on themselves!), you will finally comprehend that your fears are unfounded

  1. Adopt an agile methodology. Create a minimum viable outcome (MVO) that can stand on its own and serve as the base for the next lap of the journey. By adopting the Fail Fast, Fail Cheap mantra that we spoke about in the previous article, treating each step as an experiment to uncover what works and what does not, limiting the "price of failure" into bitesized costs, you can increase your chances of success, and opens up new knowledge for you without breaking the bank.

  2. Build resilience. And here is where Bounce Back comes in again. By building competence, character, confidence, connections and coping mechanisms, we not only boost our Bounce Back abilities, but we also increase our chance of getting to where we need to be faster, since our competencies have been enlarged, and we know better. Constant learning and doing will enable us to create a virtuous Forward cycle.

  3. Let go the need to be certain. If you look at your Risk Taking scores, you might find them to be lower. This is because you might be afraid to fail. This fear of failure may stem from our days in school, where failure was frowned upon, or it may come on the back of a string of successes, such that we tend to want to protect that image. Whatever the case, this tends to cause you to be more cautious, holding back and needing to be fully certain of the outcomes before you take the next step. But if you realise that this need for certainty is driven by what you think others would think of you if you failed, and then further realising that nobody really cares about you (since they are so focused on themselves!), you will finally comprehend that your fears are unfounded; and with that, you can let go. After all, the only person judging you, is you!


what is worse than trying to be good? It is not being bad, but being perfect; because by being perfect, you won't even start.

The proof of the pudding

Ultimately, if one wants to build the growth mindset, one needs to move. After all, it is pointless to be growth minded in all your other Dimensions and then do nothing about it. Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of the growth mindset is in the action. So instead of waiting for all the ducks to line themselves up in a row, just strike out first, and then course correct along the way. After all, what is worse than trying to be good? It is not being bad, but being perfect; because by being perfect, you won't even start. And that means you can't even be bad, much less good! So let's just start out being bad, perfecting it along the way to be good.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Let's go!


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