“I’ll have the double 30km with extra perseverance please”

Double 30km (Video)

Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset: the new psychology to success” mentions that a person’s mind is constantly generating, monitoring, interpreting and creating. The mind is extremely powerful; it creates interpretations, shape goals and attitudes, and fundamentally determines a person’s success. Moreover, mindsets are the gatekeepers that either enable a person to fulfill their potential or disables them. Dweck explains that with the right mindset, people can achieve their goals—personal and professional—and she distinguishes two types of mindsets: the “fixed” and the “growth”.

According to Dweck, both create an internal monologue. Yet, those with a fixed mindset believe they were born with a specific talent or gift, while those with a growth mindset believe they can develop and learn anything through dedication and hard work.

If you would have asked me two years ago to run 60km in two days I likely would have said “Are you nuts? No, I can’t do that”! That’s because I had a fixed mindset. I saw what I wasn’t (a runner) and therefore could not see the request to be even remotely possible. I lived in the realm of “running gives me cramps, I cried at every cross country meet in elementary school, and the one race I ran in high school left me with a sprained ankle”. I was not ‘born’ a runner or gifted in running as such, the sport was not for me.

Dweck’s mindset psychology is very simple: Change your mindset, change your life. Evidently, I changed my mindset and long and behold, I transformed my life! Sure, I’m not an athlete competing in the Olympics (yet), but I can run 60km in two days because I chose to dedicate myself and work at it. Amazing what can happen when you stop giving power to negative judgments such as “I can’t” and start giving power to “I can”.

Roughly 12km into my run on Sunday, I found myself having a race against a four year old boy on a Spiderman tricycle. The bike was fully equipped with training wheels and the kid totally beat me to the crosswalk. Although it was ‘for fun’, defeat left me upset and annoyed with my pace. For a good thirty seconds I sat in the realm of “I suck” and “that kid must have had Lucky Charms for breakfast and needed to work off his sugar high”. But I quickly realized those judgments and that mindset wasn’t going to help me get through my run. The key is not to let your inner monologue take charge. Spend less time documenting what you’re not doing and more time developing what you ARE doing. As such, I brought my mind to a state of gratitude. I reminded myself of all that I was doing, like running 30km for the second day in a row, and then I visualized myself finishing the run and writing about my 60km accomplishment. Visualizing the accomplishment and living in the thought of ‘how amazing I will feel once I’m done’ is what got me through it. Starring at my watch and mumbling hateful words to myself wasn’t going to get me anywhere (both physically and mentally).

Viewing life this way allows one to create a context where they are resilient, and this is essential for great accomplishment! Remember a kilometer is still a kilometer no matter how long it takes to complete it. Put yourself in the mindset that you were born with the gift of perseverance because that, and a growth mindset, is all your need to be successful!

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