Even Champions Fall into a Fixed Mindset

How to Get “Unstuck” When in a Rut


In any field, in any walk of life, we can all fall into a rut. Even the champions among us aren’t immune to slipping into a fixed mindset every once in a while. Just look at Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, who recently suffered two disappointing performances at the Beijing Olympics.

“Makes me second-guess the last 15 years,” said the 26-year-old after her disqualification from two competitions. “Everything I thought I knew about my own skiing and slalom and racing mentality. Just processing a lot.”

Shiffrin’s experience is a reminder that no one is immune to the dangers of a fixed mindset. She is not the first champion to fall into a fixed mindset, and she certainly won’t be the last. 

Following an unprecedented six-game scoring drought, Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest soccer players in history, scored a stunning goal this week and was named the player of the match in England’s Premier League. “Back on track,” wrote the Portuguese athlete to his more than 400 million followers on Instagram. “Nobody gives up, and there is only one way to get back on track: hard work, teamwork, serious work. Everything else is noise.”

Ronaldo is the only player in history to score more than 800 official goals and has won numerous awards, including five Ballon d’Ors, the most for a European player. In an article titled, “the Elite Mentality of Cristiano Ronaldo,” Gautam Gupta wrote, “Blood, toil, and sweat” are the main Principles of the Portuguese player.”
“I am sure that every one of us has heard stories about Ronaldo’s work ethics, from managers, fellow players, and journalists but as you look deeper into the picture, you find that the life principles of legends like Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Phelps, and Kobe Bryant are almost identical. What’s different is their motivation and drive, i.e., their belief system. They all had different reasons to want to achieve what they did,” Gupta added.
Both Ronaldo and Shiffrin are reminders that it’s perfectly natural to slip into a fixed mindset once in a while. We all have our ups and downs, moments when we feel like we can’t do anything right. But the key is not to let those moments define us. It’s important to remember that no one is perfect, and that includes champions like Shiffrin and Ronaldo. They are human beings, just like the rest of us, and they are bound to make mistakes sometimes.

What Exactly is the Fixed Mindset?

The fixed mindset refers to an attitude in which a person believes that their abilities, skills, and talents are static and unchangeable. This type of thinking affects nearly every aspect of life, whether it’s how you think about your job or your relationships. People with a fixed mindset often feel like they are in a competition against others and that the only way to succeed is to outperform everyone else. They also tend to see failure as a weakness, a personal attack, which means they are not good enough or smart enough.

How Can You Avoid Falling into a Fixed Mindset?

Carol Dweck, a prominent psychologist and author of the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” has spent decades researching the science of mindset. She is a firm believer that anyone can achieve success if they believe in themselves and avoid falling into a fixed mindset trap. She has coined the term “growth mindset,” which is the opposite of a fixed mindset.
People with a growth mindset believe that their abilities are malleable and can be improved with effort. They also see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a personal attack. According to Dweck’s research, the key to avoiding a fixed mindset is learning how to adopt a growth mindset. This means understanding that you don’t have to be perfect all the time and that you can always improve with practice.
It also means recognizing that your talents and abilities are not static, but rather they can be developed over time with hard work and dedication. A growth mindset is not about not making mistakes. That is impossible. It’s rather about learning from those mistakes and moving on.
That’s what champions do. They don’t give up when things get tough. They fight through the setbacks and keep pushing forward. So, whatever you’re going through right now, remember that you can overcome it. You are not a victim of your circumstances. You are a champion, and you can do anything you set your mind to. Just don’t forget that the next time you fall into a rut.
Aqplus, Ira S Wolfe, Adaptability

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