Monday, June 27, 2011

How much can you afford to lose?

I’m reading a really fascinating book now called Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

The title says it all, but one of the most interesting parts is the delineation the author makes between those with a “fixed” mindset versus a “growth” mindset.

In explaining this, he talks about how the calculation on an initiative is made in each of the two minds.

In the “fixed,” the question is: how much will I gain from this? If you don’t know upfront, you are less likely to make the investment (time, money, resources, etc.)

In the “growth,” you ask: How much can I afford to lose?

Sometimes, people ask me about how I’ve become adept at using technology and tools and I realize, that as far as tech goes, I have a “growth” mindset. Mind you, this isn’t true across the board.

For example, a few weeks ago, I became familiar with a concept of “flashing” an Android phone. Basically, wiping the hard drive and installing a brand new Operating System. There was upside (flexibility, features, customization), but also downside (I might ‘brick’ the phone and render it unusable).

However, when I thought it through, I said, “ok, WORST case scenario, I ‘brick’ my phone and I have to go to Sprint tomorrow and spend $200 on a new phone.”

Not ideal, but I figured the educational experience (for me) of playing around with it and trying to explore new frontiers was worth it.

Turns out, in this case, the risk was worth it and I have not only a better phone experience, but a far deeper understanding of how they work and of what they are capable. Both to these things, I believe, enrich my life and my business.

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