“Growth-hacking is more of a mindset than a tool kit.”
- Ryan Holiday
If thoughts create reality, and we know that adopting a growth mindset speeds us toward success, AND we know that rapid experimentation can help us uncover the best growth strategies…
Then why the heck can’t we apply growth hacking to cultivating a growth mindset? Here are five techniques you can use to do exactly that:
Sit and think. What’s the one mental habit you’ve picked up that hurts your growth most?
My own is judgment. I judge people for how they drive and lose my mind when I see someone litter. I get sucked into a political debate on Facebook and come away feeling dirty.
I know that this tendency to judge is not serving me. It robs me of my mental energy, and I’ve targeted this part of my mindset to work on; to replace judgment with compassion.
A/B testing is Startup 101: Run two different Facebook ads and see which one performs better. Keep the winner, then test it beside a new ad. Repeat.
We can do the same thing with our attitudes. For one week, observe one belief you hold, like “my work is boring,” and keep a written record each day of how you feel and your experience (e.g. “Mood: 6 out of 10. Got into two arguments with my boss.”)
In week two, decide to adopt the opposite belief. (Side note: if you think you can’t possibly change your thoughts, ask yourself If I’m not in control of my thoughts, who is?)
This might look like, “There’s always something interesting happening at work if I look closely.” Again, record your outcomes. Stick with the belief that brings the best results. Repeat with other parts of your thinking.
Startup entrepreneurs know that if they want to grow to hack their business, they need to know what their users are doing.
In my business, So You Want to Write? I use Google Analytics to see which web pages users are landing on, what they’re doing, and whether my marketing campaigns are effective.
Most of us could use more analytics in our lives. This can mean keeping a journal of your thoughts and moods. Each night before bed, ask yourself, What thoughts dominated my day? How did this influence my mood? What was the effect on my productivity?
When you know what’s going on in your mind, you can adjust your mindset to the one that best serves your growth.
Pro marketers found out that when you encourage your users to share your content, you turn them into inbound link machines, and you win the internet.
Use a similar approach to create a positive mindset loop.
Let’s say that today you’re exceptionally mindful of the times you want to judge someone (awareness is the first step in changing a behavior). Reward yourself for this in some way, whether that’s a literal pat on the back or leaving work on time.
In this way, you reinforce healthy thoughts, and your subconscious will want more, kicking off a virtuous viral cycle and cultivating a growth mindset.
Growth hackers are masters of riding others’ coattails. Need to grow your email list? Write a guest blog post for a big audience. Need to start a multibillion-dollar payment processing company (ahem… PayPal)? Convince eBay to use your technology.
We can do the same to build a growth mindset: Attach yourself to people with great attitudes. You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.
Also: By reading the best books, we expose ourselves to healthy, positive thinking that we can adopt as our own.