Your mindset and maximising your potential

mindsetThe view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. Having the
correct mindset is key to unlocking your potential and achieving your purpose.
World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, has carried out decades of
research on achievement and success, exploring the idea that adopting a growth mindset is
key to success.

“I have always been deeply moved by outstanding achievement and saddened by wasted
potential”. Carol Dweck

What mindset do you have? Do you believe that intelligence is static and that failure should
be avoided? Or do you consider failure as an essential part of the journey to success? Let’s
explore the two ways of thinking.

A fixed mindset adopts the idea that intelligence and talent is inherent, that they are fixed
traits and that there is nothing you can do to change them. With this mindset one must
avoid challenges that could result in failure, as this will reflect negatively on them. This
mindset often results in avoiding risks which can inhibit success. For those with a high level
of inherent intelligence or talent, there is often a belief that this alone will lead to success
without effort, which is rarely the case.

So what if we strive to encourage a growth mindset? The idea that intelligence can be
developed and that challenges and risks should be embraced with open arms. The growth
mindset urges persistence in the face of set backs, and sees the efforts we put in as a key
component to success. When it comes to feedback and criticism, the fixed mindset may
choose to ignore negative comments, but the individual with the growth mindset will see
this as an opportunity to learn. The growth mindset does not feel threatened by others
success, rather sees this as a source of inspiration for their journey. This growth mindset has
many benefits, and encourages a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great

James Dyson took 29,000 failed attempts before releasing his bag-less vacuum cleaner. He
embraced failure as an outlet to learn and improve, and from this has become a pioneering
inventor and business professional.

“Failure is so much more interesting because you learn from it. That’s what we should be
teaching children at school, that being successful the first time, there’s nothing in it. There’s
no interest, you learn nothing actually’. James Dyson

A growth mindset is based on embracing failures to grow and learn. Failure itself is not seen
as being unintelligent, but in fact acts as a springboard to develop oneself. This mindset can
allow an individual to continue to grow and evolve in every aspect of their lives. Individuals
with a growth mindset can push the boundaries and take more risks as they are not afraid of

Many would agree that Thomas Edison was a genius. But he was not always one. His
biographer, through all the information he was able to gather concluded Edison was a
regular person and that what eventually set him apart was his mindset and drive.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison

We often hear myths about ability and achievement, particularly about the lone, brilliant
person suddenly producing the next best invention. But what we don’t often see is the years
of trial, testing and failure behind these big success stories. Well that wouldn’t be the
interesting part would it? Understanding that we have the ability to grow, improve and
learn reveals an opportunity to reach our full potential.

These two varied mindsets can change the way you perceive success and the level of effort
you and those around you put into everyday tasks. Consider how this mindset could help
you as a dentist, as a business owner, as a friend or family member.