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Why you need the growth mindset more so for 2023

By Ian Dyason

We are a fortnight into 2023 and for many of us, we are glad to see 2022 in our rear-view mirror. 2022 had been the year where the perfect storm of the Ukraine war, the supply chain disruptions made worse by the war, the impact of covid-19 caused unprecedented inflation which now threatens economies with the possibility of recession. The tech industry is the first to take that hit as they shed thousands of jobs in the presence of rising costs and slowing revenue. If ever there was a time for optimism, it is now. And this is fuelled by the growth mindset.

An optimistic person maintains the outlook that things will be better, and acts in a way that brings that about.

Optimism is the tendency of expecting things to turn out for the better in time. It takes all the current "bad outcomes" and looks out for the silver linings. By being optimistic, one looks past the down events to help create the up ones. An optimistic person maintains the outlook that things will be better, and acts in a way that brings that about.

The growth mindset fuels optimism.

Optimism requires the right mindset. In fact, the growth mindset and optimism impact one another. In our work, we discovered that the growth mindset comprises 5 dimensions; Learning, Bounce Back, Risk Taking, Forward and Pride. Some of these dimensions have a more significant impact on optimism than others; chief among them is Bounce Back. The Bounce Back dimension is the tendency to recover from setbacks and continue towards success. There is a need for growth tendencies in Bounce Back to fuel one's optimism. If one is more fixed in Bounce Back, one tends to give up when faced with setbacks. This means that the person does not see the better future in attaining success, instead focusing on the costs to get there. And when the costs have crossed an accepted threshold - which is invariably low for fixed minded people - they give up on the enterprise. They do not see - nor do they expect - the benefit of success. Conversely, when one is growth minded in this Dimension, they do not see "failure" as permanent, and they accept the challenge of overcoming obstacles. They take that as an opportunity to learn more; and in so doing, they will become better. Their thinking goes something like, "Either I win or I learn; both of which I gain." Expecting such positive outcomes is the hallmark of optimism.

You got to risk something

In order to reach the summit of the mountain, one needs to risk altitude sickness, risk injury, risk not getting there, risk losing money, risk being seen as a "failure". One has never achieved anything significant in one's life without having risked something. Hence, one would require a somewhat growth tendency towards Risk Taking to be successful. Of course, we do not expect the person to be foolhardy; that is being reckless. And recklessness can be catastrophic. Yet, one person's risk can be another person's recklessness. Some people are very comfortable standing on the precipice of failure, and still take the next step. This is especially so if one has strong Bounce Back tendencies. Bounce Back supports Risk Taking; but we never want anyone to risk more than one is comfortable losing. So how does Risk Taking fuel optimism? Again, it is the promise of a better outcome. We risk something for a chance of attaining that better outcome. And as we shape the different risks, we also shape the expectations for success. Conversely, if you do not risk anything for the attainment of something good, you are indicating to yourself that that "something good" is not worth much. And if it is not worth much, it is not worth expecting. And if it is not worth expecting, there is no optimism.

Go out and get it

Even though one can maintain an optimistic viewpoint without ever having to act on it, it would represent a missed opportunity. But if we couple a forward motive with our optimism, trying out new ways of reaching our goal, and never giving up, we can end up with the fulfillment of that optimism. Here, a more growth minded tendency in the Forward dimension will fuel our wunderlust, and that allows us to uncover new places and experiences to achieve success.

Ironically, we might have to take more risks to de-risk our position.

Optimism for 2023

You can sit back and allow 2023 to unfold for you, or you can take charge with optimism. There will be challenges, for sure. We do not know that the recession will come, but we have to be ready for it. We have to bolster our Bounce Back abilities by increasing resources, launching more diverse projects, and embracing the "fail fast, fail cheap" mentality. Ironically, we might have to take more risks to de-risk our position. We have to expect that most of these projects will tank; but if one or two of them catch on, we will be able to increase our resilience against the impending recession and all other bad outcomes.

We should also start increasing our capabilities, learning new skills and adding them into our repertoire. Repertoire takes time to build, and it takes a lot of effort doing that. This is not something that you can achieve overnight. Hence, this must be an on-going activity for you in 2023. And if you have not already begun that, then you have to start right now.

Finally, you will probably realise that what had worked earlier - even as recent as 2022 - may not work in 2023. Our successes that we enjoyed - or the failures that we avoided - may no longer work in this new environment. We should be on the lookout for the new success formula; constantly testing out new ideas, while tweaking existing ones.

2023 must therefore be the year that we all embrace the growth mindset for success. The picture above shows the headlines of various media articles on the impact of the growth mindset on success. If ever there was a time we would need the growth mindset for success, it would be this year.

Let 2023 be the year that you enjoy greater success with the growth mindset!


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