Maintaining the right mindset for growth

The Growth Mindset is an outlook on performance that encourages progress and emphasizes process. It is recognizing that skills are not fixed and can always be improved with the correct process or steps leading to a desired outcome. Learning to love the process and enjoy the feelings of improvement will be crucial in order to develop long term motivation and confidence. Outcome based reinforcement can hinder intrinsic motivation and lead to burnout which is commonly seen when college athletes transition to major leagues and find themselves performing to make large amounts of money instead of intrinsic motivators such as pride.

Many competitors in a wide range of domains have been socialized to think in terms of wins and losses in order to define successes or failures. In order to measure the quality of a performance, performers must avoid thinking in terms of wins and losses because wins and losses do not adjust for the quality of the opponent. Performers will find success when focused on the specific pieces of performance such as sticking to strategies, engaging in effective communication, and maintaining a positive attitude.

Pro Tip: When asking for an update on how a team did ask "how did you perform?", instead of "how did you do?".

Another importance piece of the growth mindset is to relish in the idea of challenge. Many performers begin evaluating their competition the moment they find out who they will be competing against. It is common to experience emotions such as fear or anxiety before a competition in which you feel you are outmatched. However, being outmatched is a tremendous opportunity for growth. When we believe we are outmatched by an upcoming opponent, channeling the anxiety into excitement for the opportunity to show off your skills is a key way to performing well. It has been seen time and time again where a player or a team loses a match before they even start their performance and relishing in the challenge is an excellent way to combat this.

Pro Tip: Emotions such as fear and anxiety do not have to dictate behavior. Have you ever been scared to go on a roller-coaster or fly in an airplane? Were you able to still go on the roller-coaster or fly? If so, this is a perfect example of when you personally did not allow emotions to dictate your behavior. This is a similar concept to experiencing anxiety and still performing well.


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