Last week, Sam gave us some motivation on getting outside our comfort zone. A phrase, or mantra that we use often in the gym. This week, I’m going to talk about working on the mindset we need to have in order to do that; to get outside our comfort zone and grow. You may have heard of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. I’m going to explain the difference between the two and how to shift your mindset.
A growth mindset is believing that your abilities can be improved through practice. It is viewing failure as a learning opportunity, it is choosing hard tasks, using obstacles as a chance to dig in and find a solution. A growth mindset is where you view success by a journey of constant improvement.
In contrast, a fixed mindset is believing that your abilities are inherent and unchangeable. It is viewing failure as permanent, choosing easier tasks and using minimal effort, it’s quitting if you are faced with an obstacle. A fixed mindset is one where your success is based solely off fixed accomplishments.
I’m sure you have heard the quotes like “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. While quotes like this are motivating and fun to set as your iphone background…they don’t help us cultivate a growth mindset. We need actual steps on making the switch from fixed to growth. So here they are…
The first one is simple, start recognizing your fixed mindset. Are you saying things like, “I can’t run,” “I could never do that,” or “I am just not talented.” Do you have negative self talk? Are you scared of failure? These are things that we can start to pay attention to and recognize them as a fixed mindset.
The second step is realizing that your mindset is completely in your control. As grown adults we get to choose how we act and think. Don’t play the blame game and put your negative mindset on a bad childhood, or bad work environment, a chronically negative spouse. Your thoughts are exactly that, yours.
The next thing I suggest is to make it easier to cultivate the growth mindset. I just said that your thoughts are completely up to you, and they are. However, I won’t doubt that your environment can impact this. This is not an excuse though, this is an observation and something that is in your control. Change your environment, stop hanging around negative people or try to help them shift their mindset, stop watching junk TV and start listening to podcasts or Audible. Fill your head with encouraging and helpful things.
Lastly, start practicing the growth mindset. Begin with more positive self talk. Then start actually verbalizing that positive self talk. Instead of saying, “I can’t run”, acknowledge that you aren’t great at running, but with practice you can most definitely improve. During an intense workout (or your new journey of running), admit that it hurts but don’t quit; remind yourself that when it hurts, you’re getting better! Try to stop viewing failure as an end all be all, and start embracing failure as a learning opportunity.
Your mindset will 100% impact your entire life. I can attest to this, because I had a fixed mindset (I occasionally relapse). Since I have started working on changing it I have done so many things that I thought I would never be capable of. A growth mindset is crucial to learning, growing, and thriving.
“When things get hard, you push harder. When you fail, you get back up stronger. When you don’t see results, you don’t get discouraged; you continue to pound away..day after day relentlessly.”Ben Bergeron