There are two types of people in this world: those who think there are two types of people in this world, and everyone else.
Here at TS, our coaches and many of our clients are reading Mindset by Carol Dweck. Mindset examines how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.
If you have read Mindset, you might think Carol falls in the first category by splitting people into growth and fixed mindsets. That’s the simplified version.
Carol Dweck’s main focus is motivation. Her work delves into how we interact with the world to get the things we want. An easy example is exercise. Let’s say someone wants to run a half marathon. This is quite a challenge, and Dweck argues that there are basically two different mindsets you can use: growth or fixed.
Someone with a fixed mindset might have the idea of a half marathon pop into their head, then think otherwise. They believe that they can’t do it, that they’ll get hurt trying, that they’ll embarrass themselves.
On the other hand, approaching this with a growth mindset would make them excited by the challenge. They might think about how good it’ll feel to cross the finish line, or they might set a challenging goal to complete the half marathon in a certain time.
Either way, your growth or fixed mindset comes down to belief. What you believe about yourself and the world around you dictates how you’ll approach the things you want. Your belief is constructed gradually over the course of your life, meaning it’s rooted deep in your psyche.
If you were picked last in gym class constantly, you might go through your whole life thinking that you’re bad at sports. If that’s the case, you might’ve had a growth mindset before gym class, but that embarrassing moment made you develop a fixed mindset.
Thankfully, your beliefs about yourself can change. That’s Carol Dweck’s approach to helping you get the things you want. You can’t change your past experiences or what people say about you, but you can certainly change your belief about yourself.
Exercise provides perhaps the best opportunity to change belief. Some challenges you face will be too much, but if you’re struggling to lift a weight, you can simply pick up something lighter and work until you’re strong enough to lift it.
You don’t need to push yourself to the brink every time you’re in the gym, but you can use exercise to start small and slowly build yourself up. Over time, you might realize that the way you face challenges in the gym reflects the way you face challenges in the real world.