The Winning Mindset

Andy Murray’s loss to Roger Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon championship could have set him back months or more in mental preparation for the 2013 tournament. Instead, he reflected positively on the defeat. Although satisfied with his performance, he looked to improve (a learning mindset!).

Of course, determination and grit put him in good stead. But these are meaningless if he saw the loss as a barrier to success. Sebastian Coe, the overwhelming favourite to win gold in the 800 metre completion at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, was beaten into second place by his great rival Steve Ovett. He suffered a shattering loss. But he avenged this with a win over the same person six days later.

So what is the difference between a performance and a learning mindset? Those with a performance mindset will regard winning as total. Anything else is failure. They may even consider themselves as at the peak of their performance and the best amongst their peers. Their mindset is ‘fixed’. This way of thinking can still fuel ambition but it will not lead to ‘mastery’ of their sport, discipline, specialism, etc. Conversely, a person with a learning mindset will believe that their abilities, talent, intelligence, worth, etc. can improve. Their mindset is therefore also one of ‘growth’. They will be persistent in their quest. They will view their ‘losses’ as opportunities to improve.

To quote of the many useful Neuro-Linguistic Programming statements (also known as presuppositions): ‘There is no such thing as failure only feedback!’. Even if you make the same ‘mistake’, it is just more feedback – an opportunity to learn.

To quote Sebastian Coe: “Throughout my athletic career, the overall goal was always to be a better athlete than I was at the moment – whether next week, next month or next year. The improvement was the goal. The medal was simply the ultimate reward for achieving that goal.”

As a fan of Bruce Lee, I found this webpage, which you may enjoy reading:

Should you wish to know the science behind ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets, then you may find the website by Professor Carol Dweck (who coined the terms) informative:

If you are finding it difficult to break free from your limiting beliefs, then do look around my website to see how I can help you.

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