Success is a good feeling. You know it too: It’s the same feeling that you may have had after bouldering the most exciting routes on an overhang to the top. In this moment of complete vigilance, success feels like a mixture of positive energy, an incredibly high level of self-confidence and an irrepressible will to always do your best and accept any challenge.
The good news: You don’t need luck to be successful.
Success begins in the head – whether in sport, at work or in private life. If you want to achieve your fitness goals, not only regular training and a balanced diet play a decisive role, but also your mindset.
And this is exactly where the so-called growth mindset – or growth thinking – comes into play: The term was developed by Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
It can now be found in numerous studies that prove that the right mentality is crucial for (sporting) success. But what exactly does growth mindset mean? Why does our mindset play a major role now of all times? And how can you learn it?
We asked Johannes Willms, executive coach, trainer and organizational consultant for numerous executives and an expert in mindset development, these and other questions. Together with his wife Sara, he runs the company willms.coaching and offers learning programs for developing mindsets. (Take part in the free webinar.)
What is a growth mindset?
Everyone has certain ways of thinking that are fundamental to how they view the world. These ways of thinking also shape your own self-image. The growth mindset is therefore often referred to as the “dynamic self-image”, explains Johannes Willms. Who, according to him, has a growth mindset ,
- is convinced that he can develop his skills further,
- learns to understand things better and to experience more,
- sees mistakes as an opportunity to try something new and to develop further.
“The difference between successful and less successful people can be traced back to the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset,” he recites the theory of Dr. Carol Dweck. “With a fixed mindset, your own performance and the feedback about it are understood as information about yourself.”
The fixed mindset is therefore also called “static self-image” or “static thinking”.
If, according to Johannes Willms, you have a Fixed Mindset ,
- is convinced that it depends purely on the talent whether he can do something or not,
- learns in order to get positive feedback (a good grade, a bonus, an opportunity for advancement or praise ),
- sees mistakes as a threat and devaluation of his person.
How does a growth mindset help in sport?
Exercise is always first and foremost about improving yourself. Of course, it’s also about having fun in movement. But this is the result of when you get better in a sport or a movement. And you only get better if you learn and develop.
The mindset concept is therefore extremely important in sport. What’s more, it is the foundation of your learning. “We often think that our role models or heroes in sport, such as Michael Jordan or Cristiano Ronaldo, simply have a lot of talent and that they were born with their outstanding abilities. It is usually the case that on the one hand they train a lot more than others. On the other hand, they have an irrepressible drive to want to develop further, ”explains Johannes Willms.
A growth mindset does not mean optimizing yourself
A growth mindset is not about self-optimization. “You can use all measurable information either to want to continuously improve. With this mentality, however, one quickly gets into a hamster wheel of “higher, faster and further”, from which it is difficult to get out again. Or you set the bar from within ”- and that is exactly what the expert recommends. In his opinion, a regular exercise routine is only good for you if you start listening to yourself.
“For example, when you train your maximum strength, you should feel how your muscles feel and whether the movement is harmonious. It is also important to increase this inner feeling ”, Johannes continues.
Why is a growth mindset important now of all times?
Especially in the second phase of lockdown, contact restrictions and home office, according to experts, it is more important than ever to reflect on both the outside and the inside. “A physical balance is particularly important now. From my own experience, I know that it is more motivating and more fun to improve on what you do. It increases self-confidence to have improved and to notice that performing a movement feels good, ”says Johannes Willms.
Your way to a growth mindset in sport
According to Carol Dweck, every person has a combination of a fixed and a growth mindset, which develops through experience. Your mindset can change, for example, depending on the area of application (sport, profession, training, etc.). The good news: You can train growth thinking! Executive coach, trainer and organizational consultant Johannes Willms explains how this works in sport:
1. Trying out new things and accepting challenges
Dare to step out of your comfort zone – you have always wanted to try pole dance, but you think that you are not elegant enough? Fitness is for everyone, you just have to take the first step and don’t give excuses a chance.
2. Define successes for you
Being successful in sports does not necessarily mean completing a marathon, being able to do a handstand or lifting a lot of pounds – the important thing is that you give everything and try to improve yourself constantly and steadily.
3. Stop explaining yourself
People with a growth mindset learn from their mistakes. Do not explain yourself in front of others, accept your result. If necessary, analyze what went wrong and just try to do better next time. You can learn from setbacks in particular: Think about whether you can adjust your training routine, whether your goal was set too high and most importantly: Don’t give up!
People with a growth mindset believe that traits can be developed through hard work and are happy to accept challenges and feedback in order to learn from them. And lifelong learning is not a judgment, but an important and correct attitude that brings great opportunities.
You will see: with the right attitude, you can grow incredibly strong in so many areas. There is no reason why you shouldn’t develop yourself in the same way in the future and learn and master new things!