Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset – How to Focus on Winning

fixed mindset vs growth mindset jumper

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Are you familiar with the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset”? One can apply them both to life in general, and to sport and performance. Dr. Carol Dweck coined them when she was curious in finding out why some students seem to approach every setback as an opportunity to learn and get better, while others get easily discouraged and stop trying. This is how she came up with the two types of mindset that we are going to be discussing today. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the fixed mindset vs growth mindset. Plus, how you can have the attitude of a winner.
fixed mindset vs growth mindset jumper

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset – The Basics

First of all, let’s explore the basics of the fixed mindset vs growth mindset, by finding out what exactly these two mindsets entail. Well, the growth mindset is characteristic of people who do not believe that they are born with an innate amount of talent or intelligence that they cannot change. A growth mindset puts forth the idea that anyone can develop their abilities. All they have to do is work really hard and dedicate themselves to this task. This type of mindset encourages constant learning. Also, there’s the idea that obstacles are not something you should fear, but something you should overcome. Moreover, obstacles, setbacks, and criticism do not scare people who have a growth mindset. That’s because they know they can learn from each one of them.
The fixed mindset is characteristic of people who believe everybody is born with a certain amount of talent and intelligence, which can lead to success or not. For instance, a person with a fixed mindset might say that if he or she does not have enough talent to perform a certain task, it means that trying won’t make it better. These type of people also believe that talent is all that it takes to succeed. They think they don’t need to put a lot of work or effort in, as long as they are talented at something. Of course, this mentality can be absolutely damaging to a person’s success. That’s because you don’t only need talent to succeed. Talent helps, naturally, but no successful person or athlete has ever achieved his or her dreams without putting in a lot of work and dedication.

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset in Sports

But what about fixed mindset vs growth mindset applied specifically to athletes and performers? Well, these two types of mindsets apply to sports as much as they apply to life. Especially in sports, the idea of “natural talent” really prevails. A lot of young talents are discovered and hired for large sums of money because someone sees some untapped potential in them. And that is not a bad thing. The bad thing is to instill in the mind of the athlete the idea that he is naturally good at something. This will make him or her less willing to work in order to develop his or her skills. They will get stuck in a fixed mindset and all that potential will go to waste. But let’s see some characteristics of athletes in the fixed mindset vs growth mindset battle.

Fixed Mindset

An athlete or sports player that has a fixed mindset will believe that he was born with that skill. Even if he perseveres, he will not believe he can change it for the better. Furthermore, such performers will tend to compare their performance with the others’. This leads to constant fear that they are not good enough. As a result, they will avoid challenges, thinking that it will only expose their lack of skill. If you push a person stuck in the fixed mindset to work harder in order to better himself, this person will take that as a sign that they are not good enough. Any type of feedback you might provide them with, they will interpret as a personal critique. They will also tend to blame their failures on someone else.

Growth Mindset

On the opposite side, a performer characterized by the growth mindset will believe that his skills are due to hard work. This will only motivate him further to improve on those skills. They see challenges as opportunities to grow and as tests that show them what they have to work on. They believe that you cannot master a skill unless you put a lot of effort into it. Plus, they will take your feedback as you helping them improve. Because they do not fear challenges, athletes with a growth mindset are able to be happy for the success of other athletes. They won’t think about how they look in comparison to others. They have the ability to lose gracefully, they are open-minded, and malleable.
fixed mindset vs growth mindset runners

How to Coach People to Achieve a Growth Mindset?

In the world of sports, fixed mindset vs growth mindset is often one of the biggest factors of success, or its lack thereof. If you train people to have a fixed mindset, they are less likely to build a successful career. But if you teach them to take the growth mindset approach, they might. But let’s see some clear examples of how you can help athletes and sports players succeed.
First of all, you have to understand that people are usually stuck in the fixed mindset because of their belief that talent is innate. So if you use phrases such as “you’re a natural”, this will only encourage the idea that their achievements should come naturally. As a result, the athletes will not bother to put in a lot of effort or work hard to develop their abilities. That’s because they do not believe such a thing is possible.

The Road Is More Important than the Destination

One of the biggest mistakes trainers make is to congratulate athletes for the end result. We are not saying you should not congratulate them at all. But make sure you congratulate them on how much effort they’ve put into the job. Or appreciate how much dedication you’ve seem in them, rather than how nice that shot was, for instance. Language is one of the most important tools in teaching someone the growth mindset.
fixed mindset vs growth mindset training
Furthermore, do not let the athletes you’re training use phrases such as “I just can’t do that”. This will only fuel the fixed mindset. Be careful, most of the people who have a fixed mindset will take your advice as personal criticism. So make sure that they understand you are only trying to help them get better. Appreciate every try, rather than waiting until the end to tell them you are proud. At least they are trying, and constant trying will show results soon enough.

Summing Everything Up

In the debate on fixed mindset vs growth mindset, it is clear that people who have the latter are more prone to achieving success. That is because if you work hard, are passionate and dedicated, and see every obstacle as a chance to learn something new, you are bound to improve your skill. It doesn’t matter if it takes you longer than other people around you. That shouldn’t discourage you. Ultimately, if you get stuck in a fixed mindset, you will never reach your full potential. And nobody wants that, right?
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