Every few years there seems to be a new set of buzz words. These word start of as things that we get excited about because they powerfully and succinctly seem to hit the point perfectly and get us saying, “Yes! That’s it!” But then, they are overused and abused by people who taint their meanings. A painful example of this for me is the word, “Process.” I love the definition of process and what it means for a baseball player! But, unfortunately, it’s been overused, tainted and destroyed and is beginning to fall or may have long fallen into the dreaded ranks of “CLICHE.” Ouch, nobody wants to be in the Cliche family. I still use the term but almost ashamedly lest people think that my definition of the term is as loose as many people out there. Another such term that is becoming too common and losing some meaning especially in education circles is “Growth Mindset.” I think this is an awesome term and one that “hits the nail on the head.” But, I fear it’s losing it’s power because many of the people who use the term don’t really practice it or believe in it. For those who might not be familiar it is the counter to “fixed mindset.” Fixed mindset is the concept that people believe they are essentially doomed to stay where they are. Sure, they know that with a lot of practice and hard-work they might get a little bit better but, pretty much, they will always be what they are. What a horrible way to live!
I remember hanging out in the dorms one night in college with a teammate and we got to talking about power hitting. This guy was built like a brick house, yet in b.p. he would slap liners around the field and never even sniffed the warning track. He made a comment to me that some people have power and others don’t. I challenged him and told him that he was stronger and more athletic than me but his swing wouldn’t allow him to drive the ball out of the ballpark. He disagreed and said it was merely something some were born with. I questioned further and said, “Are you telling me that if you had the exact same swing as Barry Bonds that you wouldn’t be able to hit some homeruns in batting practice.” His answer shocked me. “No, I couldn’t,” he said. Well, that right there is NOT a growth mindset. That young man played his entire career with a governor on a Ferrari.
In order for athletes to reach their potential a growth mindset is a must but unfortunately it is quite often easier to chalk things up to DNA than challenge oneself and dare to dream. My challenge for you it to assess the various areas of your life where you put limitations on yourself. Where you are taking the easy way out and chalking up your shortcomings to “the way it is?” Also, challenge yourself to assess where you do that to other people in your life. I truly believe that everybody is capable of greatness if they have an insatiable mindset that tremendous growth is always possible.