Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Training the Mind for Growth

You Are Not Defined by Who You Are

When it comes to personal growth, it’s important to recognize that you are not limited by who you are at this moment. This might seem like an abstract concept, but I assure you, it holds true. In this article, we will explore the fascinating concept of growth mindset versus fixed mindset.

At the USA gym, we strive to cultivate a can-do attitude. We firmly believe that individuals, whether they are players or coaches, are not bound by inherent limitations that dictate their potential in sports, teaching, or any other aspect of life. While everyone possesses different genetic strengths, research shows that we have the power to significantly impact our performance levels.

Let’s delve into a study conducted over 20 years ago by social psychologists Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller, both affiliated with Stanford University. The study examined the responses of two groups of fifth graders who received different types of praise after taking an identical test. One group was lauded with the words “Nice job. You must be really smart!” while the other group was commended with “Nice job. You must have worked really hard!”

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Following the test, the students were presented with a more challenging exam. Surprisingly, 90% of the students who were praised for their effort eagerly embraced the opportunity, while less than half of those praised for their intelligence agreed to take the test. Finally, both groups were given a final test of similar difficulty to the initial one. The result was astonishing: the “effort” group outperformed the “smart” group by 30%.

This study sheds light on the advantages of having a growth mindset. We are not exclusively fixed or growth mindset individuals, but if we can embrace the following ideas – that effort, challenges, mistakes, and feedback are crucial and beneficial – we have the potential to make significant improvements in all areas of our lives. We can all become powerful learners.

Conversely, those with a fixed mindset tend to view themselves as unchangeable and may fear making mistakes. They are often preoccupied with how others perceive them, which hinders their ability to perform to the best of their abilities.

Let’s apply this concept to the sport of volleyball. Volleyball can be challenging and frustrating, particularly when played in front of an audience. When concerned about others’ opinions, we may become hesitant to take risks and hold ourselves back. However, if we embrace the possibilities of what we can achieve through hard work, we will welcome opportunities to challenge ourselves. Moreover, in the face of adversity, individuals with a growth mindset demonstrate more perseverance, pushing through difficulties rather than giving up, as someone with a fixed mindset might do.

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Individuals with a growth mindset also understand that feedback should not be taken personally. Rather, it is valuable information that can help us improve. So, when a coach or teammate offers suggestions, it is important to listen, consider their perspective, and think about how we can utilize their advice to enhance our skills.

We have all encountered people who declare, “I’m not a math person” or “I’ll never be a good dancer.” In the context of volleyball, you may have heard individuals say, “I’ll never be a good passer.” I urge you to reject this kind of thinking. Embrace a growth mindset and believe in your capacity for improvement. With enough effort and purposeful practice, you can become a much better passer.


Q: How does a growth mindset differ from a fixed mindset?
A: A growth mindset is characterized by the belief that effort, challenges, mistakes, and feedback are critical and beneficial for personal growth. People with a growth mindset embrace the idea that they can improve their abilities through hard work. On the other hand, a fixed mindset is characterized by the belief that abilities are fixed and unchangeable. Individuals with a fixed mindset may fear making mistakes and worry about how they are perceived by others.

Q: How can a growth mindset be applied to volleyball?
A: In volleyball, embracing a growth mindset can have a significant impact on performance. Rather than being concerned about what others think, individuals with a growth mindset welcome challenges and are motivated to improve through hard work. They exhibit resilience in the face of difficulties and view feedback as an opportunity for growth.

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In this article, we explored the concept of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. Research has shown that individuals can significantly impact their performance by adopting a growth mindset, which emphasizes the importance of effort, challenges, mistakes, and feedback. Embracing a growth mindset in the context of volleyball can lead to improved performance and a willingness to take risks. By rejecting fixed thinking and believing in our capacity for improvement, we can become powerful learners. So, don’t limit yourself – embrace a growth mindset and reach your full potential.