The Psychology of Success

Social scientists have found certain attitudes — or “mindsets” — more in keeping with success and resilience than others. To this extent, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck posits a “new psychology of success” in which our attitudes color our success.

Dweck says the fruits of her findings, gleaned over decades, apply whether the individual is focused on sports, the arts, business, or family life.

In the face of competition and other challenges, financial-advice firm owners are under pressure to set positive examples to clients, colleagues and the business community at large — while working to keep business operating as usual, growth targets and all.

So to help members of Chalice Network take stock, we’ll summarize Dweck’s thinking around two mindsets: one closed and guarded (the fixed mindset) the other open and receptive to change (the growth mindset).

A picture that says adaptability in front of potted plants

Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets

The fixed mindset is ruled less by doubt than by a sort of negative certainty. With this mindset ruling your world, obstacles — including frustration — seem like insurmountable barriers, feedback is an affront, and failure demarks the immovable limits of one’s abilities.

The growth mindset takes the opposite view of things. For entrepreneurs with growth-oriented minds, challenges are always opportunities, feedback is inherently constructive, and the success of other people is purely inspirational.

Equal to All Challenges

Most people aren’t all one mindset or the other, but a blend, making us rigid about some things, open about others — and many of our responses are bound to be situational. The important thing is to know what your dominant mindset is, and work toward a temperamental stance that skews positive and doesn’t vanish at the first hint of trouble.

This is vital for independent wealth advisors and other own-shingle financial-service providers, whose fortunes are at least ostensibly linked to market conditions. For them it makes sense to make attitude adjustments to confront problems rather than hide from them.

A photo of hanging vines

In short, some challenges require change, and the easiest changes to make — though still no cakewalk — are changes from within.

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