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“Experience” Is Overrated. Mindset Is Underrated.

by | Mar 12, 2023 | Startups

The hiring process is a pain in the ass.

When I got fired in 2019, I had to run like a headless chicken around Melbourne to try and get another job again.

It hurt like hell. I felt like such a failure because silly employers kept saying “You don’t have enough experience.”

Or “this person has more experience.”

Hugh MacLeod says “A lot of people in business say they have 20 years experience, when in fact all they really have is one year’s experience, repeated 20 times.”

Stop falling in love with “experience.” It’s a lie that’ll get you nowhere.

Mindset is what builds you a successful career. Here’s how to upgrade yours to get more opportunities and live the good life.

The navy seal mindset that rubbed me the wrong way

Navy seals are hardcore.

When I first heard about Jocko Willink’s “Good” framework, I immediately dismissed it. Men with guns telling me what to do has never worked well.

But I dug deeper and realized I was wrong. What Jocko teaches goes beyond war and violence. It’s a way of life.

Mission got canceled? Good. We can work on our training.
Someone pissing you off? Good. You can use that energy in the gym.

Every failure, rejection, and misdirection is an opportunity for redirection. Maybe the new direction is better or maybe it’s worse.

But it’s better than standing still with your hand down your pants and worrying about what could have been. Change is good.

The “I’ve never been poor, only broke” mindset

Poverty is a mindset. It’s a belief that you’ll never recover.

Film producer Mike Todd had an illustrious career many people would kill for. He won an Oscar for “Around The World In 80 Days.”

What people didn’t know about him is he’d been broke many times and lost everything but the shirt off his skinny back.

During the transition from silent film to those with sound, Mike and his brother provided sound stages to Hollywood. The Great Depression hit and they lost their financial backers.

They didn’t blame the economy or the president. No. Their mindset drove them to start again. They went bankrupt several more times.

Mike said “I’ve never been poor, only broke.”

He saw being broke as a temporary situation. If he could make and lose $1M by the age of 21 then surely he could do it again.

Whereas if he stayed down and never got back up again in his career then he’d have considered himself poor because of the mindset it takes to do that.

You’re never down and out. Get back up.

“Energy is contagious. So is other people’s mindsets.”

(Sheila Gonzalez)

The last job I worked was super negative.

I’m not naturally negative but I was surrounded by a bunch of grumpy old men. A bat virus was ripping through the world and locking us down.

This led my employer to fire anybody who looked slightly out of place and to ruthlessly cut costs the way my grandmother did during the Great Depression.

I started to get infected with their negativity. I stopped believing in what I was selling. I stopped working and began to join morning whinge calls about everything. It sucked the energy out of me.

Eventually I quit these colleagues.

I stopped attending their calls and went my own way. Luckily when you work in a big company it’s easy to get lost. All it takes is one negative mind to drag you down and destroy your career.

Protect your inner circle and don’t indulge in water cooler talk and office gossip.

What a growth mindset looks like

A growth mindset is the holy grail.

It’s what lets people like me quit their jobs and live a life of freedom. It’s what lets people make money on the internet and do what they love.

Image credit: Ash lamb via this tweet (follow him)

That’s the secret. A growth mindset is the belief you’ll figure out the answer to any hard problem no matter what it is.

“I’ll find a way.”

I call it resourcefulness. It’s the belief you don’t lack something, but you temporarily lack the knowledge of how to get it. And knowledge is infinite so the answer lies somewhere within your reach.

I face this mindset on a daily basis. People tell me their rules about whatever goal I have and then I shatter them to pieces.

Rules belong to fixed mindsets.

See rules as lines on a kid’s dinosaur drawing that are okay to color outside of if you’ll dare to.

The belief successful people have

Unsuccessful people quietly don’t believe in themselves, so they call life unfair and say the game is rigged. Successful people believe in themselves.

Adopt this mindset.

Embrace simple mindset shifts

I love reframes.

They’re where you take a thought and look at it from another angle. Often the new angle is more positive than the old one. Author James Clear provides a few examples:

– I’m not hurt, I’m healing.
— I’m not losing, I’m learning.
— I was not rejected, I was redirected.

Bad things happen in your career. If you don’t use reframes then a negative mindset will only make the situation worse.

When I was poor I used to think “I’m rich … rich in experiences. Rich in friendships. Rich in family life.”

Play with words. Look at the polar opposite of whatever you think to find new answers.

A strong mindset produces this amazing result

A buddy of mine, Dan, started a Youtube channel.

For a year nobody watched. He had video after video that got no more than 100 views. All of us thought he was a little crazy.

Regardless, he never stopped. He kept posting. His thumbnails got slightly better. His scripts improved. His lighting leveled up. He got better guests.

Now, two years on, his Youtube channel has 266,000 subscribers and his career is completely transformed. He doesn’t have to go back to being a web developer again.

People are amazed by his results.

What they can’t see is the brute force he used to grind through the hard days and reach the other side called success. He’s not that smart or brilliant. He just has a consistency mindset.

You can too.

The big idea that makes “experience” seem stupid

Charles Darwin once said:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change.”

That’s what those who value experience don’t understand. What you want when you hire someone is a person who can change their mind.

Not a person who is set in their ways and thinks they know everything because their #experience says so.

Experience should be renamed ego — because it’s a meaningless metric that deludes people into thinking too highly of themselves.

Choose to develop your mindset above all else.

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