As a coach, I deal with clients and athletes with fixed and growth mindsets. Their approach to handling life and its many obstacles varies drastically. A fixed mindset will stop in its tracks when confronted with adversity. A growth mindset will find a way around or through adversity.
Let’s consider both mindsets from an “injured” standpoint. Someone with a fixed mindset will limit movement and exercise. If a Doctor prescribes “rest”, then they will rest regardless of second opinions, suggestions or advice. A woman with a shoulder injury will declare all upper body movements are OFF LIMITS. “My shoulder is injured, therefore I cannot squat, I cannot hold heavy weights”, etc. HOWEVER, in reality there is a PLETHORA of options to train lower AND upper body without directly implicating the “injured” shoulder. Ever heard of belt squats? Or holding lighter weights? OR maybe moving in a manner that elicits strength gains but does NOT cause discomfort? But, for someone with a fixed mindset, the world is not their oyster. It is a dark, cold underwater cave that they constantly retreat to…
Let’s consider someone with a growth mindset. One of our gym members recently underwent an emergency appendectomy. For days leading up to the procedure she experienced some discomfort and soreness but continued to exercise. Once meeting with her doctor, she was devastated to learn that she would need to limit movement for six weeks after surgery. While “limiting movement” meant many things, to her it DID NOT mean she would need to completely abstain. Whereas someone mentally fixed and engulfed in the trauma of their experienced would view this as a catastrophic setback, our determined athlete viewed it as an opportunity to GROW. She showed up regularly to take a spin on every piece of cardio equipment. For six weeks she rowed, pedaled away on an air-dyne and performed a multitude of body building movements. It was an opportunity to become friends with the rower! To perfect her triceps endurance! She persisted, healed and after her 6 week checkup she walked away HEALED, still in shape and with a killer set of arms.
Exercise and training will ALWAYS run the risk of injury and setbacks. It is a fact of life and the first step is ACCEPTING THIS. The second step is to create a specific “growth” plan. Like Beyonce took heartbreak and created a stunning album aptly titled, Lemonade, you too will take your injury and create a better appreciation for your body, for you ability to develop aerobic endurance or core stabilization or better movement patterns OR WHATEVER.
An injury does not mean you hang up your nikes and call it a “break”. Exercise should be a lifelong pursuit and like anything, it will elicit amazing moments of victory and defeat. Ask your trainer, coach or PT for advice and make your plan. This is an opportunity to escape your fixed mindset and pursue a life of growth- PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.