Carol Dweck, Ph.D. wrote a book called "Mindset" in which she spells out the difference between having a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset convinces the individual that they are born with a certain amount of talent and there's nothing they can do to change it. Every success or failure is received as a label that is integrated into a total identity. They must look special and hide deficiencies (or make excuses) at all cost. As a CrossFitter, having weaknesses exposed in front of others is devastating.
The growth-minded individual has the self-awareness to know where they currently excel and struggle, but also knows that they have the control to change almost anything about themselves. They approach a new challenge as an opportunity to learn. For a CrossFitter, the fact that competitions are becoming more difficult is exciting rather than petrifying.
Many of us have a fixed mindset without realizing it. Below, I have illustrated three common scenarios for competitive CrossFitters and how one might react to each.
Scenario 1: Athlete doesn't qualify for Regionals/Games.
"I'm a failure."
"Those people cheated."
"The programming was biased."
"Well, this is not the result that I wanted. However, it was a great opportunity to learn where I can improve. I'm grateful that I got to compete against such amazing athletes. I will make changes to 'XYZ' and be back next year."
Scenario 2: Athlete misses 90% of his/her 1RM in training.
"I'm so weak."
"Work was really hard today."
"I didn't get enough sleep."
"The music was too loud/quiet/slow."
"Today did not go well, but I'm glad I showed up and did the work."
"I asked for feedback and received coaching on things that I can work on."
Scenario 3: Athlete suffers an injury.
"I can't believe 'they' programmed that. This is 'their' fault."
"I am so disappointed... But tomorrow I'm going to talk with my coach and figure out how I can get as much as possible out of my training during this season."
Growth-minded athletes still acknowledge disappointment. We can't always control what happens during training, competition or life. But, we can always control our response. Do you blame or learn?
"You are not a failure until you start blaming others." -John Wooden
Athletes must understand the power of yet. You haven't accomplished [insert goal] yet. "Yet" acknowledges your current realty while leaving room for future possibilities.
Coach Steven Willis