Yes, we’ve experienced an ugly presidential campaign that was capped by the surprise election of Donald Trump, who, by any measure, is one of the most polarising figures to ever be voted into the Oval Office. And yes, his election did reveal a deep societal divide in the US – a disturbing phenomenon that has also been visible in the UK, France and even back home in Australia.
But it’s not all gloom and doom just yet – at least in my opinion. Over the Christmas break I came across a new book by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck on what she’s labelled the growth mindset. It essentially said that the fundamental difference between the wildly successful and the merely mediocre is not any inborn characteristic, but how we approach learning in general.
She found that people with more of a fixed mindset – who think that abilities are carved in stone, or that you only have a certain amount of talent in a certain field – see challenges as risky, because failure could expose seemingly unalterable shortcomings.
In contrast, people with a growth mindset hold the view that talent and ability can be developed and that challenges are the way to do it. “Learning something new, something hard, sticking to something – that’s how you get smarter,” Dweck explained. “Setbacks and feedback aren’t about your abilities, they are information you can use to help yourself learn.”
With that in mind, I don’t think we should write off 2016 just yet – it may have provided us with just the kind of feedback we needed to grow and improve individually, as an industry or even as a society in the year to come. As such, the team at Prime Mover magazine made an effort to focus on growth, problem solving and innovation in our first edition, hoping it will set the tone for a successful 2017.
Linfox’s Chris Hemstrom or up-and-coming entrepreneur, Sandro Tranquim, are the kind of people who meet challenges head-on instead of thinking of the status quo as fixed. They embody a different mindset that wouldn’t simply dismiss 2016 for the bad that happened, but would bring up the courage to call out what went well and what did not – and actively work towards a better result next time.