Not coming from the tech space this might be a gross mis-use of a concept, but nonetheless I thought it was an interesting idea, but before the article was well rounded and finished my great friend Paul tipped it on its head…

We are born as Maximum Viable Products but then conditioning limits us and we become Minimum – having been forced into society’s norms and limitations at an early age. We then spend the rest of our life (those with a growth mindset) trying to get from Minimum viability back to Maximum viability – with all the struggles that you set out about fear of failure etc – all of which are learnt social norms and restrictions. I mean, what child learning to walk fears failure? Exactly 0%.

There is no better evidence of this than social media and the tidal wave of platforms where we as humans (the product) are testing ourselves against the response of others (the customer) and on most occasions we don’t meet the grade. In our own mind anyway.

Those who maintain a fixed mindset through life (the overwhelming majority) do not try and go from Minimum to Maximum. They barely hang on to Minimum and with advances in technology and learning are in fact all going backwards at an exponential rate.

Dr Carol Dweck, author of Mindset talks at great length about the journey of failure and testing that we all have to do to be successful. And sometimes success comes in the form of failure. But that type of failure is what we use to look at our features, tweak and improve, then go back to the market.

I think we are all born with a growth mindset – that is nature’s natural state and a fixed mindset is a learned restriction. That is not just us – all species are the same. A tree is born with a growth mindset and it never changes – unlike humans.

Animals only learn a fixed mindset through conditioning (the same way humans do) – eg circus or zoo animals vs those in the wild.

Humans are overpowered by conditioning – it governs us. That will not change because of how our brains work. That is not the issue. The real issue is – most of the conditioning is negative and limiting.

One of our biggest challenges is that we often seek feedback from the wrong customers… in that if we don’t get a like, a comment or a share that we are not relevant. Wrong. We all have an audience, we all have value to someone, even if it is just that one person, the most important customer of all. Ourselves.

To keep more people in the natural growth mindset we are born with we need to change the conditioning to positive, open and limitless.

To fear failure is to fear growth.

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