“Growth Mindset is So Irritating!”

Jul 06, 2022


Late last night my 20 year old son interrupted me when I began spouting off about growth vs fixed mindsets. Daniel cut in quickly,

“They are always harping on that at school!  “Hard work will get you there, talent is overrated, so keep grinding away!”  Blah, blah, blah.  It’s so irritating!”

I laughed.  Growth mindset is so obviously valuable for young people, right? 

I see my son and know that he can accomplish most anything he puts his mind to, and practices consistently.  To me, he seems like moist, moldable clay with unlimited potential.  

How does growth mindset apply in middle age and beyond, though? 

Long held beliefs about ourselves sure can get crusty, and, well, fixed.  It makes sense too.  We have a lot of history!  We’ve attempted many things and seen plenty of failure.   

In hopes of avoiding discomfort, we like to major in the charted areas that we have become good at.  Try something new?  Heck, no!  It’s embarrassing to be bad at things.  So awkward and humbling!   

Take balance and agility exercises.  For most of us, they are a struggle at first.


I work so hard on these! Getting better!

What an extra load we put on our early efforts if we let crusty old inner voices beat us up:

I’ve always been a clutz!

I’ve always had bad balance…

I was never good at sports…

I can’t do this!

Always, never, and can’t?  Dead giveaways of a fixed mindset!  

The good news?  When we spot them, we can re-frame them!

First step, start treating those fixed attitudes like you would debris stuck to you after crawling under the house.  Cobwebs, dust, dirt, dead bugs?  Just brush them off.

Then normalize them, with affirming self talk:

“Frustration and negativity is common when trying something new.  I get it, I’m giving myself excuses to stop trying, so I won’t have to feel my uncomfortable incompetence.  Thanks, but no thanks!”  

Ask yourself, “What do I really want?”  Listen inside for the growth answers:  

“I want to get better at balance, so I will feel safe, agile, and badass as I get older!  I am willing to keep showing up and making small gains!  I’m worth the effort!”

How do we foster a positive learning environment?

  • Being curious

  • Learning new information

  • Steady practice

  • Laughing

  • Breathing and Feeling

  • Being grateful

  • Dreaming new possibilities

  • Loving ourselves now

Practicing a growth mindset helps make the fitness journey enjoyable, one that we will happily choose for the rest of our lives. 

We’ll continue to improve over time, learning new skills, gaining strength, trying healthy new recipes, becoming happier and more fulfilled. 

Let’s champion the second half of life with a growth mindset, even if it’s irritating sometimes!