Why Mindset Matters

Your mind is a powerful place, and it has the ability to change and grow your whole life.  When my youngest child was showing signs of developmental delays many years ago, I started to learn about neuroplasticity from the speech, occupational, and physical therapists that we visited.  At that time, they told me that after age five the brain wasn’t able to rewire itself and that we needed to get as much therapy before that age as possible.  It felt like a mad dash to an early finish line.  

Since that time though, neuroscience has shown that we learn differently at various stages of our lives, but the mindset we adopt has a direct effect on our brain’s ability to build new neural pathways at every stage of life.  In short, your mindset has incredible power in the development of your potential.  Psychologist and researcher Carol Dweck, in her groundbreaking research on mindset came to the conclusion that people have two different mindsets, fixed or growth, because of the powerful properties of each one.

Fixed Mindset 

  • Assumes that your intelligence, creativity & character stay the same your entire life and there is nothing you can do to change it
  • Makes decisions to avoid failure at all costs
  • Creates a life is happening ‘to me’ instead of ‘for me’ perspective
  • Hinders post traumatic growth
  • Assumes talent is everything
  • Creates black and white thinking
  • Creates a lack of drive and ability to stick to tasks when challenges arise
  • Indicates a fragile ego
  • Encourages you to create comparison with other people and their paths and judge yourself and worst or better than another person 
  • Is primarily extrinsically motivated

Growth  Mindset

  • Assumes Intelligence is flexible, and dynamic based on your own focus and concentration
  • Failure is considered part of the learning process
  • Values the journey over the destination by not focusing on outcomes and accolades
  • Focuses on the individual skills and habits that lead to the greater goal
  • Is more resilient and persistent when challenges cross your path
  • Is primarily intrinsically motivated

Each of these mindsets have the capacity to change the neural pathways in your brain.  How you respond on and off the court in moments of challenge or when you feel like the deck is stacked against you will have a profound effect on whether you are able to maximize your potential in your sport and in your life.  Get ready to learn to adapt and do the work to choose a growth mindset and begin to maximize your potential with the power of your mind before you ever set foot on a court.

TASK: Write a Journal Entry.

Do you consider yourself an Optimist? Why or why not?