What Mindsets Drive Success?

In prior blog posts here and here, we have discussed how our mindsets are foundational to our success.

In the last blog post, we discussed how our personal development is easier and longer-lasting effects if we focus on our mindsets.

Whether you have read these posts or not (which I encourage you to do), you may be wondering: If I need to improve my mindsets to have greater success in my personal development and my life, what mindsets do I need to focus on?

For most people, this is either a question they have never thought of, or a question that they do not have a very clear answer to.

When I go around speaking to groups and organizations about mindsets, after setting up the idea that mindsets are crucial to success, I always ask: “Do you know of any mindsets that drive success?”

I am generally met with one of three responses:

  1. No answer/don’t know
  2. "Positive Mindsets"
  3. Vague and unclear terms that relate to actual success mindsets

The Power of Clearly Labeling Mindsets

The fact that very few of us can clearly identify mindsets that drive success is problematic. It is problematic because we have little clarity on what to focus on. And, even if we feel we do have clarity, how certain are you that what you have chosen to focus on is actually the best thing to focus on.


Success Mindsets

The question, “What mindsets drive success?” has been a burning question of mine for over three years.

When I have Google-searched that question, I have been largely unsatisfied with the results, as they typically result in vague and unclear mindsets that have no real backing behind them.

Thus, the primary place I have sought to clearly identify mindsets that will actually move the needle on personal success is the academic literature.

After scouring the academic literature on mindsets, which includes any field of study, and not just management or psychology (where I spend most of my time), I found about 10 different mindsets that have received attention in rigorous academic research.

Something that is unique about the mindset research is that there is not one primary hub for the research. The different types of mindsets are spread out across psychology, management, marketing, education, etc. And, for the most part, each mindset does not reference the other mindsets.

Thus, it looks a little like this:


Four Success Mindsets

Through reviewing the literature, I was able to identify three mindsets that (1) have received attention beyond more than just one study, and (2) have been clearly demonstrated to drive important outcomes associated with success in life, work, and leadership. Additionally, I was able to identify a fourth mindset that has received a decent amount of attention in the consulting world (with tangential backing in the academic world), and has been demonstrated to drive important outcomes.

Altogether, I have identified four mindsets that I can confidently say drive success in life, work, and leadership.

They are:

  • Growth Mindset – Our ability to the see our and others’ abilities, talents, and intelligence as things that can change, grow, and develop
  • Open Mindset – Our ability and willingness to be open to the ideas of others and to take those ideas seriously
  • Promotion Mindset – Seeking for advancement, growth, and accomplishment
  • Outward mindset – Seeing others as people and treating them as such

In the coming blog posts, I am going to be diving into these in greater detail.

But, for now, you have a clear label and a fairly clear description of four mindsets that have been proven to lead to greater success in life, work, and leadership. With these labels, you now have a clear and precise target that you can confidently shoot toward.

If you want to take a mindset self-assessment to help you identify the degree to which you possess each of these Success Mindsets, click on the button below.

Out of these four Success Mindsets, which do you currently possess, and which do you think needs the greatest attention?