Five signs of growth-oriented individuals — Here is what you need to change
The disposition that lets you perceive failures as opportunities
With enough persistence, most things that seem impossible become possible
The physical and cognitive learning ability of humans is a direct reflection of their disposition. Since this ability to learn and tackle obstacles chart your growth curve, an important question arises here:
Is our frame of mind hereditary or learned?
Studies have shown that to become an international level soccer player, you not only need to have an athletic disposition but also, dedication to devote years of your life practicing soccer skills. This disposition plays the role of a potter that shapes our belief system — whether we bring about a change and learn or not.
Following is the compilation of five signs of successful individuals who continue to grow throughout their lives:
1. Growth-oriented individuals seek development rather than approval
Ed Whitacre, CEO of General Motors(2009–2010) took over its helm when it was on the brink of a disaster. With his swift decision-making and impeccable business acumen, he turned the ship around for GM. His only goal was to return GM its eminence and he could do so by making solid developmental changes — streamlining the holdings of the company, canceling projects in the pipeline and breaking down hierarchies and strengthening teamwork.
Being able to execute a change throughout an organisation that large is a strenuous task. Leaders like Whitacre, Gerstner(IBM) enable people around them to make things happen.
Swetabh Pathak, co-founder of Elucidata who has been my mentor always encouraged us to take ownership and bring about the change we wished to see. One bold phrase that he preaches time and again which also defines the culture statement of Elucidata:
Ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
2. They look at failures as an opportunity to learn and succeed
People with a rigid mindset get deeply affected by their failures as they have their palaces built over fake principles and age-old methods. Exposing yourself to the rapidly-changing modern world teaches you the need to retrospect, retrospect and restart with a learned mind.
Many students who stay in silos with short-sighted missions undergo dramatic repercussions of failure. Since our education system is somewhat failing in inculcating the indispensable character paradigms, we develop a fixed mindset and that leads us to a steep downfall. Declaring yourself a loser after a failed attempt originates from a disposition leading you to believe that you can’t learn from your mistakes.
Legendary players like Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, Sachin Tendulkar, all had a low point in their career. Nevertheless, sticking their heads in the sand, they analyzed the shots they missed and worked on their technique to get the better of their weaknesses. Transforming your defeats into victories requires a firm belief and consistent honest effort.
3. They thrive on complexities and difficulties
Not all things in life require a genius mind or superhuman genetics. The majority can be achieved with you making an honest effort. When people with a rigid mind are confronted with challenges, they only look for ways it can go down. Filled with fear and excuses, they lose the battle before it even begins, depriving themselves of a fair chance.
I remember my chemistry teacher telling me not to rely too much on your talent as at some point it will stop yielding results. Practice without questioning your talent and stop fooling yourself.
“Most people avoid risk so much in their lives, they fail to try things”— Vinod Khosla
4. Possess enough persistence to make the impossible possible
People with a growth-oriented disposition often find ways to be persistent to make things happen when they’re determined. Leaving things unfinished bothers them. Be it rolling out a new product in a startup, developing a new habit of running, quitting smoking or reading one book per week, giving up is not an option.
Adapting yourself to changes can be very tough and it tests your character. Devoted to growth, these individuals not only bring about the change in themselves but also enable the culture around them.
5. They work on developing fundamental character paradigms instead of ephemeral behavior
All the above signs are not possible without a strong base of principles that molds your character. You can change your behavior to get pass one problem or to tackle a small challenge thrown at you but you won’t last long in the game without a solid character paradigm.
Your behavior serves you with a short-term solution to problems whereas your character prepares you for the long run. It helps you calibrate your internal compass which can direct you better than any analytical report or advice.
Be it professional or personal space, your happiness level has a direct link to the decisions your character drives you to take. Setting out dedicated time for family and strengthening those relations is as important as reviewing the marketing strategy for your new web portal. Your belief system plays a vital role in shaping your career as an individual.
You are the only obstacle to your development. Don’t rely on your innate talent as it’ll only instill fear in you. Growth-oriented people train hard no matter how talented they are to realize their true potential. We can all develop such disposition by breaking down the barriers of our own attitude and thoughts.