Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kamikaze Moves

My September newsletter is about mindset. Examples that reveal mindset abound. I recently read that Lance Armstrong came in second in a 100-mile bike race in Colorado. Instead of quitting, being a failure or dropping out, the loss apparently inspired him to return to attempt an eighth Tour de France win.

What a great example of a “growth mindset.” Carol Dweck, in Mindset. The New Psychology of Success, talks about “growth” and “fixed mindsets.” Those with the fixed mindset believe their abilities are fixed and unchanging. Their goal is to repeatedly attempt to prove themselves. Those with a growth mindset believe their abilities have the potential to grow and change. Their goal is to put energy into improving themselves.
Which are you?
Fixed…what have I done to deserve this...just call me loser…it’s not fair…


growth…what can I do to get past this…I better try harder on that next one…it is what it is, now what..

In my newsletter, I made the point that if you have a fixed mindset, you can change it. As I edited I thought, oh my, that’s a bit harsh isn’t it? It’s like telling someone that the way they think is wrong, a psychotherapy kamikaze move. What’s more likely to generate resistance and hurt feelings than telling someone they’re wrong?

Just as I was about to make a change I thought, you know what, coaching is about telling people the hard truth. Indeed, psychotherapy is about the hard truth as well, it’s just a kinder, gentler truth. And the fact is, fixed mindsets only work well until you encounter failure, which is, alas, inevitable. So the hard truth is that, unless you’re a kamikaze pilot, you’re going to be a lot more successful if you can cultivate a growth mindset.

Try to set it aside for a moment if I’ve offended you. Which mindset do you want to have?
Consider the efforts those you admire have put forth to get where they are.

Consider that you could have tried harder, worked harder and pushed harder to get something that you wanted.

Consider situations in which you throw in the towel before it’s really time.

So you’re having trouble losing weight. Are you just a victim of bad genes, or do you need to get focused and come up with a better plan?

Your job is so boring you can hardly do it every day. Is it the only job in the universe, or are you just a little scared of upsetting the status quo? How about at least looking around a little?

Think you’ll never meet mr/ms right? Are you really looking, or are you a little nervous about the possibility of rejection? It wouldn’t be the first time, right?
So consider that even though you have some fears and misgivings, it might be time to start facing the hard truth. Flying can be such fun.

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