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3 Psychology Books to Change Your Mindset (and Your Business)

Inspiring, influential reads for every entrepreneur.

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“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge,” says author George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame.

I read to keep my edge. I get especially excited about books rooted in psychology – about the way we think – because they apply to anything. While the following three books aren’t technically business books, they’ve inspired me and influenced my business – just as they will do for you.

Related: 8 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read in 2015

1. Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessMindset: The New Psychology of Success

“World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea – the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.” – Amazon.com

Do you truly believe that the future is what you make it, that success is linear – rising and falling with your efforts? If so, you have what Dweck calls a growth mindset. This productive way of thinking says, “What I’m currently doing equals what I’m currently getting. If I improve what I do, then I’ll improve what I get.”

A fixed mindset, on the other hand, says that your efforts don’t matter – that success is just up to the gods who either shine down on you or don’t. When we operate in this mindset, even subtly, we lose the opportunity to pursue greater goals. We become the victim, not the victor.

To strengthen your growth-mindedness, celebrate the process. Dweck’s motivational book will help you remember that success is linked to mindset.

2. The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of LeadershipThe-Score-Takes-Care-of-Itself--My-Philosophy-of-Leadership

“Bill Walsh is a towering figure in the history of the NFL. His advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty.” – Amazon.com

This book, by Bill Wash, one of the greatest coaches of all time, is my favorite leadership book. Walsh believed that the greatest coaches are teachers, and he focused on what he called “teaching the gap.”

For example, if Joe Montana was doing something incorrectly, Walsh would say, “This is how you’re supposed to do it. Here’s how you did it. Do it again.” His simple yet powerful approach yielded great results, and the same has been true when applied in the business world.

Related: (Slideshow) The 7 Books Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read When They’re Discouraged

Walsh shares that we actually win more – in sports, life and business – by focusing less on the win and more on the process. He celebrated every well-executed play, whether or not that play resulted in a score or a win.

It’s the same for us as business leaders. The more we focus on winning, the more stressful and less productive the environment becomes. Focusing less on the win and more on the execution of winning plays – or the process – creates a stronger environment. This mindset shift leads to huge gains in the workplace.

3. The Talent Code: Unlocking the Power of SkillThe-Talent-Code--Unlocking-the-Power-of-Skill

“What’s the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople – and everyone else – with tools they can use to maximise potential in themselves and others.” – Amazon.com

This motivational book challenges your thinking and shows how skill is learned, not inherited. Although the author’s work is based on highly technical brain research, his book is straightforward and relatable, whether you’re a parent, an athlete, a business person or anything in between. He identifies and explains three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts: Practice, ignition (motivation) and master coaching.

Entrepreneurs’ lives are packed full of checklists and appointments, but these books, by the experts, are worth the time. Their words will both empower and inspire you – as a business leader and as a leader in your family and your community.

Related: Want to Be a Good Manager? Pick Up a Book.

Our minds are too powerful to waste. Let’s take every opportunity to keep our edge.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Self Development

How You Can Make Failing Part Of Your Growth Strategy

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

Entrepreneur

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The concept of ‘fail forward’ basically means that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Once you shift your mindset regarding failure, it becomes an asset to your growth. What’s not to like about learning?

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

1. Take risks

If it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it, then it’s okay to embrace the idea of taking more risks. Try new things and see if they’ll work. If they don’t, then at least you’ve tried and learnt.

Related: Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune

2. Learn constantly

Failing and learning shouldn’t be one-offs or isolated incidents. They should weave together in a constant stream of learning that builds and rewards as we move forward. That way, we can improve and eventually succeed more often than we fail.

3. Search and reapply

Learn from each other’s mistakes. Marketing is a spectator sport — you can learn from watching each other’s brand activities — both the wins and losses.

4. Accept failure

This one is the hardest step. It’s not easy to fail. It’s not something we’re taught to do. It distracts us from our mission and it takes time away from being successful. Or does it? If you start failing forward daily, not only for yourself, but for your teams as well, you will create an environment where failing forward is accepted and embraced as part of a learning culture that seeks continuous improvement. That improvement includes actively learning from your individual and collective mistakes.

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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