Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
According to Carol Dweck, researcher of mindset and success, every individual can possess traits that are either fixed or growth-oriented.
A growth mindset, according to Dweck consists of the belief that abilities are influenced by hard work as opposed to the concept of “natural talent”.
Success in the field of fitness does not come from natural talent, rather, it comes from having a different kind of mindset that emphasizes growth and learning.
I wanted to understand what separates successful bodybuilders from unsuccessful ones. In order to find out what made successful athletes successful, I decided to research the mindsets of athletes from different fields.
Since bodybuilding is accepted as individual sport, as in, one that encompasses an emphasis on performance, physical strength and endurance, success in it can be reliant from mindsets applied to other popular sports such as football or swimming.
Defining Goals is the Key To Success
In the case of defining goals in bodybuilding, they can include reaching new PR’s and lifting a certain amount of weight or reducing body fat/ gaining muscle.
Goals are important because they help define you as an athlete, and more importantly, they can give you insight to help you attain a growth mindset. After all, improving means accepting feedback and it should be measurable. One should not mistaken feedback for praise as the two are nothing alike.
In essence, having an objective helps define your performance as an athlete and helps you by giving you a direction, essentially, a measurable potential to reach.
You can start measuring your successes according to what you achieve or not and begin to adjust accordingly.
Praise as part of the Fixed Mindset
We have come to understand the fixed mindset as a mindset that we all have, and one that can prevent you from reaching your full potential. Naturally, being praised for accomplishing something is going to lead you to have a fixed mindset.
A growth-mindset sees praise for what it is, which is essentially promoting the idea that talent is fixed, and in this case, the idea of physical strength as being fixed, when it really is not the case.
An important take-away is that natural talent does not equal success with building muscle/lifting weights.
Natural talent, according to Dweck is never responsible for the success of an individual in any endeavor, rather, it is the emphasis on doing one’s best and improving that leads to their success.
Tweaking your Psychology to Reach Your Goals
Here are a few steps towards achieving success in sports, according to this Ted Talks by Sports Psychology Researcher Martin Hagger. I have linked the video below.
Ted Speaker Martin Hagger has studied the behaviour of athletes including Michael Phelps and has broken down their success according to their behaviours and rituals. Here they are, the world’s top athletes’ behaviours broken down to fit your fitness/hypertrophy objectives.
Hagger noted that Michael Phelps, among other athletes have:
- Use Mantras/ Visualisations
- Have relaxation techniques/ use breathing techniques/ music
- Have some kind of anxiety- reduction routine
As a bodybuilder, you can adopt similar techniques with what you do prior to weight lifting and after. Among these are anxiety reduction techniques like foam rolling, massages or yoga.
Additionally, the use of rituals does help in the sense that by applying them, you can set yourself up for success in following through with your training program.
By applying a growth mindset and by using techniques such as visualization and stress-reduction, you can set yourself up for success in whatever sports you pursue, including weight lifting.
Growth Mindset. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.premiersportpsychology.com/sport-psychology/growth-mindset/.
How A Growth Mindset Affects Sports Performance. (2015, September 9). Retrieved from https://www.warriormindcoach.com/growth-mindset-sports-performance/.
(n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG7v4y_xwzQ.