The Growth Mindset

Why do some people seem to constantly progress in their professional and personal lives, while others seem bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over again?

Although the answer is not simple, because the reasons may be of a different nature, certainly, as has been shown, there is an interesting difference in mindset for those who approach life with an open mind, a desire to learn, and are aware that from mistakes one can grow. And who instead stops at the first obstacle or disagreement and would rather die than make a mistake.

How each approaches obstacles defines much of what separates them.

The mentality with which challenges, and situations, in both private and professional life, are faced determines future results. A good worker, and a good citizen, for example, is well informed, does not assume that he has all the answers, listens carefully to other points of view, and is willing to change his mind.

The speed with which one learns and progresses in the world depends on how willing one is to evaluate the merit of new ideas, even if one does not like them instinctively.

All interested in this sort of matter know that our mind is able to constantly monitor everything that happens, interpreting in various ways the meaning of the things that happen to us. In this scenario, the mindset can be understood as what “regulates” the way we evaluate these situations and how we react to what happens.

When it comes to this, there are typically two main approaches that are didactically summarized: the Growth mindset and the Fix mindset.

Scholars have shown that people with an Open (Growth) mindset are people who are constantly trying to learn, to challenge themselves and to grow, to improve themselves. These are individuals who love challenges, and who believe that their intelligence, talent, and skills can be increased or improved through hard work and effort. People who believe that their talent can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and the contribution of others. Receive more respect than those who have a Fix mindset, i.e. those who believe that their talent is an innate gift.

Open-minded people are more curious, they don’t ask themselves why there is disagreement with the opinion of others. They understand that there is always the possibility that they are wrong and that it is worth taking some time to consider the other person’s opinions. In fact, they see disagreement as a considered means of expanding their knowledge. They don’t bother asking and receiving questions; rather, they want to identify where the disagreement lies, so that their misperceptions can be corrected. They realize that being right also means changing your mind.

They are more interested in proving themselves right than in getting the best result. They don’t ask questions. They want to show you where you are wrong, without trying to understand your story.

Closed-minded people don’t want their ideas to be challenged. They are generally frustrated by the fact that they are unable to convince the other person to agree with them instead of becoming curious and trying to understand why the other person does not agree. They are more interested in proving themselves right than in getting the best result. They don’t ask questions. They want to show you where you are wrong, without trying to understand your story. They get angry when you ask them to explain something because they think people asking questions are slowing down the process. They are more likely to make statements than to ask questions. These are the people who attend the meetings and are more than willing to offer their opinions, but they never ask other people to elaborate on or explain their ideas. They do not try to understand the considerations of others.

Open-minded people sincerely believe they could be wrong; the questions they ask are genuine. They know that while they may have an opinion on a topic, this idea can be improved or changed by people with different experiences and knowledge than their own. Regardless, they are always curious about how and why people see things differently and evaluate their opinions accordingly.

Open-minded people feel compelled to see things through the eyes of others and are more and more interested in listening than in speaking.

However, being open-minded also means approaching one’s neighbor without necessarily losing one’s principles or one’s moral integrity.

From these brief and small ideas, you can realize what the open mind is, and how important and decisive it can be for the achievement of one’s personal and professional successes.

If we expand these concepts to the world of work, when a company decides to focus on the growth of its business and orient itself towards technological and digital progress, it must adopt a mindset, an approach, in some ways a lateral, unconventional philosophy, which takes shape from ” integration of product development, digital marketing and data analysis. He has to ask himself the right questions; questions that stimulate and guide people to focus on growth by thinking outside the box and based on elements such as:

Experimentation, that is, having the courage to revolutionize and test new and unusual techniques, actions and strategies, learning from other companies and not just competing with them;

Data, to act following a data-driven approach to actually understand which data to read, how to interpret them, and how to move in making decisions. We should Keep in mind that talking about data means referring to both quantitative (numbers) and qualitative ones (feedback, emotions, and reactions of people);

Creativity is not an end in itself, but is validated by data analysis. Creativity and data do not conflict with each other, on the contrary, if used correctly and combined with harmony, they are able to create and achieve exciting results;

Shift the perspective and the way of reasoning, from the usual search for the right answers to the ability to ask pertinent questions.

The quality and success of the corporate business depend on the questions that the actors ask themselves.

Due to the condition of immobility caused by the fixed mentality of some managers and collaborators, too rooted in tradition and unwilling to innovate, companies often fail to make the leap in quality and achieve the desired success.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Aldo, your post is very interesting.

    In our world with such rapidity of change we need a growth mindest to cope with.
    There is no possible growth of mind without unloading the confirmation bias that ties up our minds and keep them happy living in the comfort of invalidated old ideas and concepts. Change brings new facts and new realities. These in turn bring new opportunities.

    Without growth mindset these new opportunities shall come and go and we lose the opportunity to advance our minds.

    • Thank you Ali for your unfailing support.
      Moreover, I appreciate your reflections, that I share 100%

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