Most everyone desires some success of some form that is unique to them and based on their own life experiences and preferences. However, many people get in their way when pursuing their goals due to negative thoughts such as insecurity, not enough time, and fear of failure among others.

A common reference point for surveying general mindsets when it comes to pursuing success is growth vs. fixed perception.

Growth-focused mindsets are open to criticism, new perspectives, and believe that their ability to improve is wholly dependent on the effort put into becoming better. Conversely, the fixed mindset is more of the deterministic view that abilities are innate and your life experiences are largely dependent on your ingrained talents.

Where growth mindsets are open to improving and overcoming hurdles like failure, fixed mindsets can become distraught by setbacks and are prone to giving up in the face of adversity. In business and personal success, an open, growth mindset is what is taught by success coaches and prominent authors in self-motivation.  

A positive psychology and positive mindset is also encouraged, since what you think, and your perspective, whether positive or negative, can have both evident and unforeseen consequences on your pursuit of success or life fulfillment.

You are what you think, and as Henry Ford once said, “if you think you can or can’t do a thing, you are probably right.”

Research published in the journal Applied Psychology looked at how a positive or negative orientation impacted 246 entrepreneurs (143 women) who had been running their businesses for at least two years and were either married or in a stable relationship. The researchers from Poland and Italy were testing the hypothesis that, “more positive entrepreneurs may engage more strongly in personal goal realization thanks to higher resistance to stress and a greater availability of personal resources.”

The first thing they discovered was that people who are more optimistic also tend to feel better about their goals than individuals with a more negative mindset.

The second thing they found was that achievement has a direction. This is a significant and important finding.

The researchers discovered that having a positive orientation on its own does not necessarily and automatically lead to success and achievement. However, when looking at the entrepreneurs that do tend to achieve their goals, they found that they have a positive outlook (measured in terms of self-esteem, life satisfaction and optimism) and they place positive personal and family goals first. The people whose goals were mainly business success orientated, even if they were positive, were significantly less likely to achieve their goals than those who had goals around being a better person, having better relationships and providing for their family and as a consequence saw the fulfillment of these goals as being through their business goals. So, while a positive mindset was important, greater success was achieved when the focus of goals was family oriented.

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