Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But so many people miss this crucial step when taking on a new challenge, or even when wanting to completely turn their lives around.
Think of your mind as a muscle, if you don't use and stretch this muscle, i.e. work on developing your mindset and retraining your brain, the muscle will remain unchanged and could even deteriorate, i.e. all areas of your life will show little growth or progress and ultimately remain fixed or even go backwards.
Those who possess the fixed or non-learner mindset believe that some are born with certain traits that cannot be learnt by others no matter what, i.e. you are are gifted or you are not gifted at something. As we progress through our lives, the fixed mindset is adopted as adults due to external factors in our environments. Whereas, as children we are natural born learners, constantly developing and absorbing our surroundings.
The good news is that we can completely change our thought process from growth to fixed during any point in our lives, adopting once again the childlike, 'sponge' mindset. And this somewhat regression actually leads to the growth you desire.
The growth mindset or learner mindset is the belief that all skills can be developed and learnt. Yes some people may have a natural ability in certain skills, such as language or sport, but a combination of hard work, determination and most importantly belief in yourself, will almost always beat talent.
How many times have you heard someone say something along the lines of, ‘talented but misbehaves’, about a child. This is an example of an adult choosing negativity over positivity. Someone with a growth mindset would help the child understand their talents and channel their struggles and frustrations, eventually turning them into successes.
We react to situations depending on what mindset we use and judging people or reacting negatively to situations can generally be defined as having a fixed mindset. The first step to believing in yourself, in order to achieve your full potential, is to recognise whether you are currently defined as a person by a ‘fixed mindset’ outlook on life. If you do feel that this is how your attitude could be described, by simply admitting this and answering yes, you are on the right path.
Moving forwards, a person adopting a growth mindset would then ask themselves how they can learn from this in order to achieve their desired goals.
Growth vs fixed mindset
We’ve summarised some steps below which may help you…
Steps to change:
1. Identify which mindset you are currently using.
When receiving feedback, how do you interpret this? Blaming yourself or feelings of inadequacy when challenged are signs of a fixed mindset.
2. Recognise you have a choice.
When faced with a challenge you can either approach the challenge with denial, saying ‘this is not my fault’ and ’I don't have the ability to deal with this’, or you can ask yourself, ‘how do I learn from this?’ And ‘when faced with this similar situation again, how would I deal with it or prevent in the first place?’
3. Use the growth mindset voice.
When faced with life dilemmas, listen to your internal fixed mindset dialogue and combat this with a growth mindset…
Fixed: “I can’t lose weight, I don’t have the time or energy to go to the gym.”
Growth: If i use my time wisely, hire a professional and attend personal training sessions with no excuses, no matter what I will become healthier.
Fixed: “What if I mess up?”
Growth: Every one fails and all successful people keep on trying until they break through, taking different approaches, but most importantly not backing down. By not trying something you often think about wanting to do, you are already failing.
Fixed: “There is no point in trying, it won’t work.”
Growth: “I’ll always regret it if I don’t at least try.”
Fixed: “If only I had talent I could have been a…”
Growth: Truly successful people work hard at developing talents. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, yet this made him work harder and gave him the kickstart needed to becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
For some of you this may have been a long time coming and changing your mindset may happen almost instantly. For others, recognising which internal voice you act upon may take time. And either way we are not saying that this is easy. But ultimately, however long it takes, the better you become at listening to and acting upon the growth mindset, the more positive results you will see when on the journey to reaching your goals.
Books we recommend
We cannot recommend self help books enough so we’ve popped below some suggestions below (every book recommended has been read by at least one of the Primal Training Club coaches and we like to think they aren’t too ‘wordy’, long or intimidating!)
And though we do not profess to be experts in all areas of life, remember that if you are ever feeling doubts about your fitness journey, always speak to one of us for some guidance along the way!