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Do you believe that you can achieve your goals by working hard and developing your abilities? Do you think that dedication leads to success? Do you believe that if you don’t tend to your talent and brains, they will wither away? Do you love learning new things and are you resilient when stumbling upon obstacles? If you’ve answered yes to at least some of these questions, that means you have a growth mindset. But what is a growth mindset? Today, we are going to answer this question. We are going to see what it actually means and who discovered it. But more importantly, how it is related to sports, and what you can do to achieve it. Let’s begin!
What Is a Growth Mindset?
First, let’s find out together what is a growth mindset. A growth mindset is characteristic of people who believe they can improve themselves through hard work. In this mindset, people don’t take their intelligence to be a fixed thing. This is what encourages them to grow and develop their abilities. So even if not everybody is born with an intelligence and talent that go over the average, there is no reason why they can’t develop and train those abilities. What is a growth mindset, you ask? We can describe it as the type of mindset that definitely encourages constant learning and resilience in the face of hardship.
Most people who have a growth mindset become greatly accomplished, as opposed to people who are stuck in a fixed mindset. The fixed mindset means that people believe they cannot alter their brains and talent. So you were either born with them or not. Those people do not work enough to better themselves. They believe that by having talent you should be able to be successful, even if you don’t work for it. Nothing farther from the truth. You cannot accomplish great things just by being talented. You have to put a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion into it.
But what is a growth mindset good for? A growth mindset teaches people that if they are dedicated enough to improve their most basic qualities, they will be successful. Of course, having been blessed with an over-the-average intelligence or talent can be nothing but beneficial. But if this is not the case, it doesn’t mean that you cannot succeed in life or develop those abilities.
How It All Started
Dr. Carol Dweck coined the term growth mindset when, together with other colleagues, she studied the mindset of children and students. They wanted to see what makes some of them be so resilient, while others give up so fast. This is how she came up with the growth and the fixed mindsets, to explain people’s different views on intelligence and talent. And science backs up the growth mindset. According to scientists, our neurons can grow and strengthen by constant practice. Which means that we can increase our neural growth through the decisions we take and the actions we choose. Another good news is that a person can change his or her mindset from fixed to growth. If people show you proof that your brain can grow as you train it, you also become more motivated to achieve a change.
The Growth Mindset and Sports
But what is a growth mindset when it comes to sports? Well, nothing easier to understand. It is quite obvious that people who are willing to see that a setback and some constructive critique can only make you better, are people in the growth mindset. If you fail, it is not pleasant, that’s for sure. But it is only one more obstacle that you have to pass on your way to the top. And since we see a growth mindset as constant learning, you have to take every obstacle as an opportunity to learn something new and improve your skill.
Whether you are a professional sports player, or you simply like to train at home, a growth mindset is much more beneficial to you than a fixed one. Because the road to performance is definitely not easy, and no famous athlete or sports player has ever achieved glory without working really hard and learning from his or her failures. If you have a growth mindset, then you will be able to perceive that a setback does not mean the end of your career, and that you can always bounce back. Thinking like this also leads you to be more open-minded, which means that you can accept advice from your coach and allow him or her to help you reach your full potential.
Tips for Training the Growth Mindset
When it comes to coaching, it is important to know how to create an environment that allows a growth mindset to develop. That means being careful about a lot of things, especially language. Everything you say as a coach can influence an athlete’s mindset. Try to avoid phrases such as “you’re a natural” or “this is really easy for you”. These types of phrases will make the performer believe that he or she is innately talented and there is no need for hard work in order to succeed.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t praise the people you are coaching. But make sure you are specific about what it is you appreciate, such as hard work and dedication. The key is to focus on every step of the training process, and not on the end result. If an athlete seems like he or she is giving up by saying they simply cannot do this, Dr. Dweck advises us to practice the “power of yet”. Just complete their phrase with “yet”.
You can usually tell when someone has a fixed mindset when it comes to their performance. For instance, when you offer criticism, they will understand you don’t think they are good and that they should have already been able to do that. That is one step away from thinking that there is no point in trying anymore, because nothing can change that. If you start seeing this attitude in the performers you coach, be more clear with your suggestions and critiques – language is everything. Praise them from attempting to get better, not for what they managed to achieve yet or not.
Everything Summed Up
If you are a professional athlete, or just someone who is really passionate about sports, it is important to be as familiar as possible with the growth mindset. No great performed has ever achieved his or her goals by being in a fixed mindset. Even if you are talented, make sure to constantly work to improve your abilities and turn that talent into achievement. There are many athletes who have talent but do not accomplish great things, because they are stuck in a fixed mindset. If you don’t want to be one of them, make sure to train your growth mindset starting today.
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