Cultivating A Mindset for Growth

Dr. Rayyan Ep
3 min readMar 15, 2021

‘Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.’

James Cash Penney (Founder, JCPenney).

According to J. C Penny, growth doesn’t just happen overnight. It transpires only by the operation of certain crucial elements.

Top among these elements is your mindset for growth. You have to be willing to grow before you can be able to grow. Without a growth mindset, opportunities to flourish will not prevail.

Understanding The Human Mindset

A professor of psychology, Carol Dereck, decided to carry out a careful study of the human mindset. In her attempt to understand how people develop abilities, she discovered that human mindsets vary. Dereck realized people generally exhibit two kinds of mindsets:

  • a fixed mindset of interest, and
  • growth mindset of interest.

A fixed mindset assumes abilities are inborn. They’re only just lurking somewhere, waiting for the possessor to discover them. The growth mindset, on the other hand, believes people can develop new interests by surmounting challenges. With hard work and commitment, one can perfect new abilities and flourish in due time.

Cultivating The Mindset for Growth

Dereck reckoned mindsets determine how people admit new interests and grow. It is not only your environment, level of creativity, and intelligence that determines your potential to learn more. It is majorly the type of ‘mindset’ you hold.

Having a fixed mindset, for example, means you believe you can’t admit new interests. You can only discover the ones that are within you. For example, a student who is art-oriented may find it difficult to develop new interests in, say, the sciences. The fixed mindset also assumes that any success that ensues is only a product of the inherent abilities we possess.

Having a growth mindset, however, means one can admit new interests, develop and, in the end, succeed at them. But, how can you inculcate the mindset for growth?

By Limiting Your Fixed Mindset

Dereck concluded in her research by admitting that a fixed mindset significantly limits one’s ability to grow.

As a businessperson, you mustn’t thrive on a fixed mindset. You must be willing to open yourself to new ideas and strategies for growth to be possible.

By Exploiting Novel Approaches

A good businessman knows there’s no single way to doing business. The fact that a method has helped you over the years doesn’t mean it’s the only viable method you can use.

You must be willing to try new tactics to better improve your company.

By Taking Risks

If you must develop the right mindset for growth, you must be willing to take calculated risks.

Being willing to take risks means you have a growth mindset. That is, the willingness to admit new strategies even if it might lead to disappointments later on.

By Learning From Other People’s Mistakes

By learning from other people’s mistakes, you get to avoid the same mistakes yourself.

By Viewing Challenges as Opportunities

Having a growth mindset means you’re open to new challenges. It means you only view challenges as a stumbling block to success.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Derek affirms that by adopting the growth mindset (and limiting fixed mindset) you’ll be able to ‘thrive during some of the most challenging times in [your business].’

By Being Open to Valuable Criticisms

A growth-oriented mindset is willing to convert constructive criticisms into a success story.

As a growth-oriented person, you’re not supposed to give in to external approvals. But, when it comes to criticisms, take them to heart and work on them as soon as you hear them.


According to Professor Dereck, a ‘growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.’ Even though people may differ in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.’



Dr. Rayyan Ep

A Venture Builder based in Asia with over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience across APAC & MENA. Often described as a “Technopreneur”;