Growth Mindset: How Successful People Think

Published by Clinton Ukachukwu on

growth mindset

Have you ever wondered why some highly successful people keep getting more successful? The secret is in the way they think.By observing highly successful people, you will discover something profound about mindset. When you take a close look at the likes of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, Serena Williams or Cristiano Ronaldo, you will find that underlying their outstanding achievements is their mindset. They have an extraordinary growth mindset, they are always thinking about how they can get better and how things can get better. Success always leaves clues. We can learn so much from the mindsets of highly successful people. But in this article, we will focus on the growth mindset and how it affects our results. 

Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mindset

 Success is a product of your mindset. Your mindset is your inner programming that directs your behaviours. Research shows that it’s the way successful people think about their ability and intelligence that sets them apart. Carol Dweck, the Stanford Psychologist, in her research found out that people can either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. According to her work, people with a growth mindset believe intelligence or ability can be developed while those in a fixed mindset believe it is static. These two different beliefs lead to different behaviours which produce different results. The following behaviours are likely when considering the fixed mindset and growth mindset: 

1. Dealing with challenges

 People with a growth mindset easily embrace challenges because they see it as an opportunity to stretch their abilities and develop their intelligence whereas those with a fixed mindset avoid challenges especially when it demands more than their ability can handle. 

2. Handling setbacks

 People with a fixed mindset are discouraged by setbacks or failure because a setback shakes their belief in their own ability whereas those with a growth mindset consider failure as a learning opportunity. Those with a fixed mindset give up easily whereas those with a growth mindset never quit. The growth mindset people persist through setbacks. 

3. Work ethics

 Those with a growth mindset have a ruthless work ethic because they see the effort they put in as a path to mastery (becoming better versions of themselves). On the other hand, the fixed mindset people do not believe very much in putting in more effort because they believe natural ability is more important. In other words, when you have a fixed mindset about the school, for example, you probably will not put in much effort preparing for exams because you probably believe your natural ability is enough. 

4. Accepting feedback

 A person with a growth mindset uses feedback to grow whether positive or negative feedback. However, the fixed mindset person is insecure in the face of criticism. 

5. Dealing with others’ success

 Growth mindset people take lessons from the success of others while the fixed mindset people feel threatened when others succeed.These behaviours explain why people with a growth mindset go on to be very successful in their life and work. 

Growth Mindset and Success

 So, to experience greater levels of success in your life, you need to carefully examine your mindset. It is possible that the reason you are not making much progress in fulfilling your potentials is that you are using a fixed mindset. This is very important if you are a student. According to Carol Dweck’s research, students with a growth mindset were shown to increase their grades over time. Those who believed that their intelligence was ingrained did not their grades actually got worse. 

Dweck writes:

 “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” For people with a growth mindset, personal success is when you work your hardest to become your best whereas those with fixed mindset just have a binary view to success- it’s either success or failure, period. Having a growth mindset (the belief that you can improve your own ability and results through learning) is key to success. With a growth mindset, success is not just about meeting up with some fixed standard but more about reaching your personal potentials. This is not to say that someone with a growth mindset will become another Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. Rather, it’s all about becoming more of what you are meant to be. Cultivating a growth mindset is the single most important thing you can ever do to achieve success. You demonstrate your growth mindset primarily by giving yourself to learning every single day and striving for mastery through effort and deliberate practice.



If you will do what other successful people do, you will become successful too. But this is possible only if you think like them.The quality of our thoughts always precedes the quality of our actions and that is what sets you apart from the rest. You should strive to cultivate a growth mindset and that way, there will be no limit to the quality of results you will keep producing in your life.  If you have some additional tips or advice to share, we’d be glad to hear from you. Kindly share in the comment section below.

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Head of content at Sagefour. He is interested in: Technology, Media, Startups, Education and Africa.

Clinton Ukachukwu

Head of content at Sagefour. He is interested in: Technology, Media, Startups, Education and Africa.


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