I recently read the book Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford University. Let me start by saying that for a book that amounts to a review of research, it’s very engaging and easy to read. Not always the case so hats off to Professor Dweck.
So what are the takeaways? Outside of subtleties and specific examples, the entire book hinges on a single concept: the comparison and application of the fixed versus the growth mindset.
Basically, a fixed mindset person believes that they have innate set of abilities that are unalterable; that if presented with a challenge and their arsenal of inborn skills and talents are not up to the task, that they (or the task) are a lost cause. Fixed mindset folks also tend to believe that they are a victim of circumstance, that if their abilities are not up to the task that it is the fault of the task or whomever is issuing the challenge. In short, personal responsibility is not their forte.
On the contrary, a growth minded person would believe that they are capable of developing skills, adapting to challenges and expanding their abilities through application and hard work. They do not believe that they have a ceiling for potential. They focus on the process of learning rather than the results. They believe they are in control of their circumstance (to the furthest degree possible) and whatever is out of their control is for them to adapt to and overcome.
You’re probably reading this right now and thinking, “ Well of course I’m growth minded!” It’s interesting to note that we all operate on a spectrum of these two mindsets. For certain “triggers” we may respond with a fixed mindset and vice versa. However, with practice and with changing our external and internal dialogues, we can become more growth minded. Consider the following example:
You come into class at the gym. The workout consists of pull-ups, push-ups and squats. Immediately, you think “Well, I’m going to have to scale again. I just can’t do pull-ups, no matter how hard I try. I wish they didn’t program these so often. It’s embarrassing that other people have to watch me struggle.” What you just told yourself internally reflects a more fixed minded stance: that you do not have the capacity to do pull-ups and never will; it’s just not part of the hand you were dealt.
What if instead, you came into class and the same workout was on the board but your internal dialogue sounded like this:
“Yes! Another opportunity to work on my pull-ups today. I know I may not get them all or they might not look like someone else’s in my class, but man, am I excited to have an opportunity to practice.”
Totally different approach! And reflective of a growth minded individual. You see the challenge as a chance to get better. You don’t think you’re missing the “pull-up gene” or wishing that the coach never programmed pull-ups.
This is such a small thing but the conversations you have with yourself (and others, but let’s face it, we can talk to ourselves all the time…and the best part is, we always listen) reflect your mindset and in turn will dictate your success or failure in whatever challenges life throws at you. And let’s be very clear, your mindset doesn’t just show up in physical tests like those you find at the gym or with a particular skill like playing an instrument, public speaking or painting. Mindset shows up everywhere. Work, relationships, and as we’ve already seen, self-talk.
So next time you find yourself in a situation that challenges you, tune into your internal dialogue. What are you telling yourself? If you start identifying words like “can’t,” “never,” and “I wish they didn’t…” in your internal dialogue, stop yourself. Try substituting those for “I get to” and “I’m glad/excited for this…”
This is the first step to shifting your mindset. Be nice to yourself :)
Strength - Front Squat
Athletes will have 20 minutes to build to and complete multiple sets of 3 at an RPE of 7. The focus of this week is position and speed as we will be building over the next few weeks!
Metcon - For time:
35/24 calorie Assault Bike
50 alternating DB snatches @ moderate+
7 minute cap