"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he!"
Proverbs 23:7King James Version (KJV)
My people, this book is a game changer.....
In this book, Carol discusses her research on the mind. Carol breaks down our beliefs into two categories: fixed vs. growth mindset, and we can go back and forth between the two mindsets.
People with a growth mindset believes that their qualities and abilities can be cultivated; they can change with effort. People with the growth mindset do not have to always be seen as the smartest person or the best at everything; this mindset values learning, failing, and learning from the failure.
People with a fixed mindset believes that we have all of the abilities that we will ever have and the abilities are fixed; we can’t change our qualities or abilities. These people do not want people to see them fail, they feel that they must always show their good side, and do not value effort.
To a person with a fixed mindset a failure is the end of the world, but to a person with a growth mindset, failure means an opportunity to learn, and that person will try and try and try over and over.
Carol gives the example of Michael Jordan having to literally work and work to become Michael Jordan; he had to cultivate his basketball skills. The famous Picasso painted horribly for years until he practiced and practiced and practiced and became the Picasso that we know today. Darwin’s work on The Original of Species took years of teamwork and half a lifetime of dedication before it came to fruition. Most folks ain't a natural at anything; but Oh the value of hard work and dedication.
Now, let me tell you how this book applies to me... I believe and know for a fact that we can change our intelligence and almost every area of our lives if we believe that we can and work at it. We can study and become better at math, writing, reading, and even at the arts. We can become more considerate, compassionate etc. I believe that every student, person, and myself can become better in every single area of our lives. I must believe this in order to be a teacher right? (I surely hope that all people who work with children believe that people can improve.)
However, with cycling, I was beginning to believe that I could not get better. Now, I’ve come a long way from where I started and that improvement came from just riding as often as I could. I LOVE CYCLING! However, competitive cycling took me completely out of my comfort zone and was stealing my joy of cycling, because I was not seeing improvements right away. (fixed mindset!) I am not a natural athlete at all. So, for me to be a competitive cyclist, I have to work my butt off and then enter races and get dropped. (Dropped means that the other cyclist leave you behind!) I was and was not enjoying the journey. I enjoyed the camaraderie of racing but did not enjoy being last. However, I just couldn't give up.
My first year of racing I did not know anything about cycling workouts or what to do to get better, and my team did not offer any support at all. So, of course, my first year of racing I was getting dropped and was always the last person to finish each race. Can I tell you that I cried, felt embarrassed, had self-doubt and everything else that you can name? However, I kept going back, because I enjoyed it, but I had no idea what to do to be competitive. During my second year of racing, I still did not know anything about cycling workouts, and I was getting my butt ran in the ground. Finally, I started hearing people talk about workouts, and I decided to hire a coach. Also, I switched to a more supportive cycling team.
Now, I have a cycling coach, and he works my butt off. But, because of my first two years of unsuccessful racing, I am having to work on my mindset. Yep, I am having to work on mindset. I was beginning to believe that I could not get better, and it did not help that I changed racing teams and on my first ride with them I struggled and struggled bad. I was not focusing on the fact that I was learning from my team and my new teammates were super supportive and helpful. I was focusing on the fact that I probably looked like a failure to my new team...(fixed mindset!) Of course, I went home and called my coach and blamed him. We almost parted ways, but we didn't thankfully. (He did not give up on me.)
Now, when I put my cycling life in the grand scheme of things, I am a pretty good cyclist; however, to ride with the big boys, I am going to have to train, train, train and give up riding for fun all of the time. I must do the workouts so that I can enjoy the rides that I do for pleasure and enjoy competing. Also, I must be prepared for failures along the way. (Growth Mindset.. Failing ain’t easy for me.)
I have been doing every single one of my workouts and praying that I am getting stronger.... Now, do you hear that doubt? (Fixed mindset.) My people, you know and I know that I am getting stronger. (Growth Mindset.)
Two weeks ago I had my first race of this season, and because I had convinced myself that I am not good with climbing because of being dropped on hills quite often, (fixed mindset), the small incline that was on the race course was mentally freaking me out... I was not focusing on my improvements from all the workouts that I had been doing to get stronger, and of course, I got dropped on the very first lap.
I cried and felt crazy and talked to my coach who was surprised that I had gotten dropped so quickly, and he talked to me about my mindset. He state that “You must believe that you belong in the race.” And, before he stated this, I did not realize that I may have been having those thoughts.
Of course, I belong in the race, because I have being working hard like the other racers to be in the race. After much thought, I am convinced that my fixed mindset caused me to get dropped in that first race, not my abilities.
Since that first race, I have been determined to enjoy every workout and every ride. I am looking forward to riding with folks who are stronger than me so that I can learn and grow. I have decided to no longer feel bad about getting dropped, but acknowledge that getting dropped is part of the growing experience and having a growth mindset. Now, don't think that it will be easy to change my mindset, but just because it won't be easy, it does not mean that I will not do it.
I am going to continue to do my workouts, ride for fun, and compete...
World, Look Out.... Here I come!
My people, read this book and challenge yourself!!