Becoming Limitless: Fostering A Risk and Growth Mindset
Timeless mental models and mindsets for freelancers to thrive in business and life.
For the freelance creative looking to thrive in business and life, mindset is everything.
The human mind and potential is one of the only infinite resources on the planet.
Yet often the least tapped.
The most successful freelancers and solopreneurs are learning machines, change their mind often given new information, take strategic risk, adapt faster, and use mental models to improve their judgement.
Dive deeper into the first principles of a risk and growth mindset to not just succeed in the short-term but thrive over the long-term as a freelancer.
What is Mindset?
Mindset is the deeply held believes, attitudes, and assumptions we create about who we are, how the world works, what we are capable of, what we deserve, and what is possible.
What is a Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is believing intelligence can be developed.
People with growth mindsets are intellectually curious, welcome new challenges, are inspired by the success of others, and view failure as an opportunity to refine their abilities.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
A fixed mindset is believing intelligence is static.
People with fixed mindsets are intellectually handicapped, avoid new challenges, threatened by the success of others, and view failure as the limit of their abilities.
I'm sure you can guess which mindset takes you further in life and business?
What are the limiting beliefs you tell yourself?
I am not good enough. It's too late. I am too old / young. I am not capable.
How can you overcome the debilitating effect of these beliefs?
How can you turn these limiting beliefs into positive ones?
Dispelling The 7 Lies of Learning
- Intelligence is Static - With a growth mindset, we have the ability to improve anything. Skills, talents, and intelligence can be developed through hard work and persistent effort. "This is something I'm not good at yet."
- We Only Use 10% of Our Brains - There are no functionless areas of the brain. All parts of the brain are active even while we sleep. The key is to learn how to use your brain more effectively.
- Mistakes Are Failures - Mistakes don't mean failure. Mistakes are a sign that you are trying something new. You may make mistakes, but mistakes don't make you. Place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones to rise to the next level.
- Knowledge is Power - This is a common half-truth. Knowledge requires action to make it powerful. If you don't apply knowledge, it's useless. Knowledge + Action = Power.
- Learning New Things is Difficult - It's not how smart you are, but how you are smart. What's more accurate is to understand that learning is a set of methods, a process that can be easier when you know how to learn. When you learn new ways on how to learn, the challenge of learning new things can be fun, easier, and more enjoyable.
- The Criticism of People Matters - Part of becoming limitless is learning to let go of the fear of criticism from other people. Children are the fastest learners on the planet and that's because they don't care what others think of them. They have no shame around failing. People will doubt and criticize you no matter what you do. You will never know your true potential until you break the unfair judgements you place on yourself.
- Genius is Born - Genius leaves clues. There is always a method behind what looks like magic. Genius is not born, it's made through deep practice.
All growth happens outside your comfort zone.
If it didn't, then you would simply be reinforcing what you already know.
So what's the foundation to a mental advantage in business and life?
The use of mental models.
Mental Models, The First Principles of a Growth Mindset
The most successful freelancers and business minds understand and use mental models to improve judgement and decision-making skills.
Some of the most popular mental models used:
- The Map is Not The Territory - This refers to our perception of reality as being subjective and limited by our personal beliefs and experiences. This mental models helps to recognize that our perspective is limited and encourages a humble approach to decision-making, considering other viewpoints, and being open to new information. By recognizing the map is not the territory, one can avoid getting trapped in rigid beliefs and make more accurate decisions based on a broader and more nuanced understanding of the world.
- Circle of Competence - Popularized by Warren Buffett, this refers to the idea that individuals and businesses should focus their decision-making on the things they know and understand well. Avoid making decisions in areas you lack expertise, knowledge, or experience. By focusing on your strengths and areas of competence you can make more informed and confident decisions and avoid costly mistakes.
- First Principles Thinking - This involves breaking down complex problems and solutions into their most elemental components and building up from there. This helps you avoid common cognitive biases, allowing you to bypass assumptions and conventional wisdom and arrive at a more fundamental understanding of the situation.
- Thought Experiment - It's a powerful tool for problem-solving and decision-making as it allows individuals to simulate a situation and consider different possibilities, outcomes, and implications in a safe and controlled environment. This mental model helps you identify hidden assumptions, test beliefs, theories, and gain a deeper understanding of the situation.
- Second-Order Thinking - Involves looking beyond the surface level of a situation and considering the long-term and wide-ranging impact of a decision. You avoid unintended consequences and make decisions that are more sustainable, effective, and efficient in the long run.
- Probabilistic Thinking - Involves an understanding that not all outcomes can be predicted with certainty and that decisions should be based on the best available information. You can make decisions that are more accurate and resilient in an uncertain world.
- Inversion - Involves flipping the problem or situation on its head, by considering what not to do. You can avoid common blind spots and biases by strategically not doing specific things.
- Opportunity Costs - This is the cost of choosing one option over another. It's the value of the next best alternative that must be given up in order to pursue a certain action or decision. This way you are maximizing the value of your resources.
- Creative Destruction - It's a key driver of economic growth and innovation. The evolution of new and innovative technologies disrupting and transforming existing ones, leading to new opportunities. By embracing creative destruction and embracing change and innovation, you can stay ahead of the curve and continue to grow and evolve in the face of new and disruptive technologies and business models.
- Supply and Demand - If the demand is up for a good or service, the price will rise. If the demand is low and the supply is plentiful, the price will drop. This is fundamental for undestanding how markets work and how prices are determined.
Discover the best mental models from the most important subjects:
- Systems Thinking
- Military and War
Understanding, recognizing, and using these mental models to frame questions, problems, and situations will empower you to see new perspectives, evaluate alternatives, simplify, use data, and understand opportunity costs to make better decisions.
By using mental models you will see the sum of the parts and how it effects the whole.
And hold a more free-thinking, unbiased, and accurate perspective of the world.
On the long timeline of life, you are the sum of your decisions.
So choose wisely.
Want to supercharge your decision-making? Reference and use mental models to think clearer, make better decisions, and gain a mental edge!
Reframing Your Relationship with Failure, Risk, and Luck
It's okay to make mistakes, it's not okay to not learn from your mistakes.
In a strategic way, failure and smart risk is a resource that can be managed.
As long as you get a "Return on Risk", or ROR.
Which may not always be financial.
It may be in the form of valuable feedback, information, or data.
When you know the consequences of your mistakes or failures are learning opportunities rather than a pink slip, it facilitates rather than stifles innovation and experimentation.
The most successful freelancers and business minds embrace smart risk and failure as a way to learn, grow, and improve their systems.
Think what you want about Amazon's Jeff Bezos but he is arguably the master of risk.
He believes there are only really two kinds of risk: risks of commission and risks of omission.
In other words, risks you take and risks you don't take.
And often times knowing what risks to not take gives you a better kickstart in the right direction of your goals.
It's the inversion mental model.
By not doing, you end up doing.
By managing risk this way, luck can be managed, sort of.
As Naval Ravikant points out, there are 4 ways to get lucky:
- Hope luck finds you.
- Hustle until you stumble into it.
- Prepare the mind and be sensitive to chances others miss.
- Become the best at what you do. Refine what you do until this is true. Opportunity will seek you out. Luck becomes your destiny.
If you combine this thought with the concept of Jeff Bezo's two types of decisions...
Type 1 Decisions: These are long-term, irreversible decisions that have significant impact on a person's life or business. These decisions require a lot of thought and planning, and they are meant to be final. Examples of Type 1 decisions in business include major investments, partnerships, and strategic changes.
Type 2 Decisions: These are reversible, smaller-scale decisions that can be corrected if they turn out to be incorrect. These decisions can be made more quickly and with less consideration, as they are not meant to be final. Examples of Type 2 Decisions in business include hiring and firing employees, adjusting budgets, and launching new products and services.
...you can focus your attention on the most important and irreversible decisions, while being able to make quicker, less impactful decisions when necessary.
This allows you to speed up your decision-making velocity.
Jeff Bezos, spoke about the necessity of missteps in Amazon’s journey: “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.”
So identify what smart risks are worth taking.
And when you make a mistake, make sure you mine it for valuable feedback to inform upgrades in communications, processes, and systems.
Adapt and apply those learnings to be better the next time around.
What is the next new thing you want to try in your business?
Adopting a Long-Term Investing Perspective
Our mind is the greatest wealth-building asset.
On the flip side, it is also the greatest wealth-destroying asset as well.
It all depends on your self-awareness and perspective.
The most successful freelancers understand the best things in life compound.
So they play long-term games with long-term people.
They have adopted a long-term investing mindset, which gives them the longest runway possible and the freedom to fail and learn over time.
This allows them to plant seeds on the daily, weekly, monthly.
They may invest their time, energy, and money into relationships, technologies, code, and media that scale.
They stay patient, consistent, and relentlessly focused on their flywheel(s) that create value and money for many years.
Some seeds will grow exponentially and some may not grow at all.
But the ones that do grow most certainly make up for the ones that don't.
Do you have a list of long-term (and longer-term) goals for your company - both financial goals and strategic goals?
How can you change short-term rewards to encourage long-term thinking?
"Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable." - Naval
Having A "Day 1" Mentality
Day 1 is concept, not a date.
It's a way of thinking.
Popularized by Jeff Bezos at Amazon, Day 1 culture is acting and thinking like a startup.
You are customer obsessed.
You understand your value-creation flywheel.
You avoid wasted time and energy.
You lean into big trends and new technologies.
You make high-velocity decisions.
You're business is either growing or dying. There is no middle ground.
And the only way to avoid Day 2 is to believe it is always Day 1.
No matter how young or old your business is, ask yourself; What can I do regularly to model a 'Day 1' mindset?
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