Utilizing a Fixed Mindset

Utilizing a fixed mindset

Last week I talked about reframing. Mindset is an example of framing or a mental model. 

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset popularized mindsets — specifically the growth mindset. Her work has had a significant impact on psychology, education, business and relationships. 

I was recently scrolling through Twitter, and I ran across a Tweet that made me pause and reframe the way I looked at the concept. Alex Auerbach, a performance psychologist, got me thinking. He wrote: “great performers use both a fixed and growth mindset.” Here’s a link to the tweet. 

At first I thought, no way. Growth or high performance is the answer. Our culture often likes to glorify one thing and demonize the other. I once had a client tell me he never engages in all or nothing thinking. I laughed. Because he just did it. 

What’s emerged is the belief that a fixed mindset is the enemy of greatness. But, is it? Could there be a benefit to a fixed mindset? I actually think there can be. When a growth mindset is your foundation, there is a benefit to using fixed beliefs in some contexts and situations.  

Mental fitness requires knowing when to use it, and when not to. When you are in a performance zone, a belief in your skills, talents, and yourself is important. It’s necessary for resilience. I am a resilient person and could be categorized as a fixed mindset. 

Unfortunately, we all too often used the fixed mindset in the opposite way — to believe we are not good enough or not capable. It’s generally not to your benefit to use it that way. 

So, what’s the adjustment? Do both and in the right amounts. 

In practice and training, a high performing mindset focused on learning seems like the best approach. In games and performances, belief in your skills, traits, talent, and ability to get the job done creates determination. 

Remember that mental fitness requires adjustments, attention to detail and nuance. All of this is at high levels. Small adjustments over time lead to change.

Let’s change the conversation. Talk and learn about mental fitness. 

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