Believe and you can go far

Whilst catching the end of the men's final of Wimbledon at the weekend in Roger Federer's victory speech my mind became hooked on his words: "If you believe, then you can go really, really far in your life, and I did that."

He had spoken previously in an interview with Eurosport about a victory explaining that he had won because he had more belief in himself and he had seen it very much as a mental match. He said that whilst tactics had been discussed, "You have to go out there and believe that point for point nothing's going to change [...] I'm not going to get down on myself and it was easy to tell myself that you've nothing to lose Roger. Like I have said before [...] it's ok to lose but you still want it badly and I think that combination got me the win."

Sporting success is an excellent example of how your mindset can change your outcomes, and Federer is an outstanding example of how successful a human being can be if they have faith in themselves and their abilities.

An athlete can do all the right training, be in absolute peak physical condition, have the very best trainer but if they think that they are not going to be successful either in a given competition or overall in their sporting career they are unlikely to perform to their full potential, lowering their chance of victory.

In my opinion, to have the most success in life it is more than just believing in the outcome of your goals and desires. The important thing is the kind of mindset you adopt. Like athletes, there are two possible mindsets that we can hold about our talents and abilities.

The first is a fixed mindset - believing that your talents and abilities are fixed and limited. You believe that you have a certain amount and can never go beyond that. In this case, you may be successful up to a point but then a perceived upper limit kicks in and you stop striving for more. Given this mindset, you are also likely to shy away from your talents and abilities when you have a setback and ignore feedback.

The second is a growth mindset - believing that there is potential for improvement and that your talents and abilities are something that you can develop through effort and practice. Given this mindset, you are also likely to see setbacks as opportunities for learning and lap up feedback to help you improve.

To go really, really far like Federer it is a growth mindset you must choose and you have to choose it again and again.

Realistically, we cannot all become Usain Bolt but we can accept that he and Federer got where they are today through years of passionate dedication to their sport.

I would challenge you to find me just one top athlete who through their career has not adopted a growth mindset, who has not bar the exceptional odd wobble, constantly stretched him or herself.

If you believe in yourself and your talents and abilities then you can achieve much. You can aim really small, or you can aim really high.

So, how do you move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?

1. Identify your fixed thinking each time it arises.
2. Recognise that you have a choice as to how you respond to that voice.
3. Thank the fixed thinking for making itself known, and respond from a growth mindset.
4. Take the appropriate growth mindset action.

Photo: Press Association


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