The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

You Must Own It – pt. 8A

Step 3 in “Owning It” ~ Adapting the Growth Mindset with fitness (if not overall), may be the most important step in this whole process of “Owning It”. 

In my exploration into beliefs and how they effect people’s actions and lives, I’ve noticed that there are three levels of beliefs.  In a sense, you can compare these levels to a tree. 

The most fundamental of these beliefs are like the roots.  These are the beliefs that are so engrained that we rarely if ever notice that they’re there.  We don’t see them and yet, they effect EVERY aspect of our life.  These “Fundamental or Mindset Beliefs” are the basis with which we view the world. 

These are the beliefs that if you were dropped in the middle of a deserted island and had to survive, would still reside within you. 

They signify “Who you are” and what you “Know” about yourself and the world.  If you change these beliefs, the others will naturally shift. 

The next level of beliefs are your “How You Are” Beliefs.  These beliefs are like the tree trunk.  They affect the branches and actually present your “self” to the world.  These beliefs will hold your “values” and therefore, what you think is important. 

These beliefs are big enough to keep you acting the same, year after year, as long as you’re in the same environment.  If you change your environment or your community of friends these “How You Are Beliefs” will typically shift also.  In last week’s post where I described relating to someone different, these are the beliefs I was talking about changing. 

The last level of beliefs, the individual “Reference Beliefs” can be compared to the branches of the tree.  The problem with attacking Reference beliefs, is that just like a tree, if you were to hack off a couple of branches, as long as the roots and trunk are healthy, they will continue to grow back.  If you want to change the core of the tree, change it’s roots. 

Here’s an example of each of the levels of beliefs:

Fundamental/Mindset (Tree Roots) Beliefs ~ You tell yourself, “I am who I am and there is nothing I can do about it,” or, “If I make a mistake, not only is it bad, but it shows that I’ve failed as an individual.” 

These beliefs rarely are conscious and reside within the core of who you think you are as an individual. 

How You Are (Tree Trunk) Beliefs ~ You tell yourself and of the following “How You Are” Beliefs.  I am a good student, I am an alcoholic, I am shy, I am a good manager.  These beliefs describe the roles in your life.  These are still big beliefs and if you were to change these beliefs, you would certainly change whole aspects of your life. 

Reference (Tree Branches) Beliefs ~ I don’t like the taste of water.  I don’t like working out.  I don’t like to sweat.  I don’t like math class.  These are specific things we tell ourselves about a specific aspect of one area of our life. 

In other words, the Tree Roots can be likened to a Car’s Engine.  It’s who you are.  Do you have a 600 horse-power engine or a 200 horse power engine? 

The Tree Trunk can be likened to the Car’s Frame and appearance.  It’s how we are perceived by other’s and How We Present Ourselves to the world.  Not, who we are, but how we are.  Are you a red sports car or a green mini-van? 

The Reference Beliefs can be likened to a Car’s Accessories and interior.  Do you have leather heated seats and a wood-grain dashboard or is your polyester seats and a standard dashboard?  These are accessories, that are the least likely to be judged, yet are still a part of your “whole.” 

So why did I tell you about my own opinions about beliefs? 

So that when you seek to change your beliefs, you change those that have the greatest impact on the totality of your life. 

The best way to do that is to change your “Fundamental” Beliefs.  These are your mindset beliefs.  In a previous post, I described how I feel that the most important belief that you have is whether or not your Identity is “Fixed or Growth” oriented. 

Can you change? 

Can you fail? 

Is it good to make mistakes? 

Are you locked by “Who you are” or are you free to “Grow into who you want to be”? 

The answer to these questions determine your most fundamental beliefs about what is possible in the world, and therefore, what is most fundamentally possible to YOU as an individual.

In next week’s post, I will discuss the steps you can start to take to change those most Fundamental Beliefs along with how this whole series of posts started.

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2 comments found

  1. I love the way you hold out the idea that there is never a consequence to failure. That you can have a go, fail, and the whole thing is only a stepping stone to success. Have you never come across things that are “one time only” events – no second chances, no re-runs, no learning curve? How does this fit in with the philosophy, and how do you extend it to people who have had significant experience of this sort of event?

    1. Well, I never stated that there aren’t consequences to failing. There are always consequences.

      What I am saying, is that unless those consequences equals death or a lifetime of imprisonment (which if you haven’t noticed, is NOT what this blog is about), then you have the power to persevere and overtake those consequences. You can either grow from life or become shrivled by it. There is no static action you can take for any consequence that occurs.

      Therefore, how you ACT (in mind and body) in reaction to the inevitable consequences of life is what will determine whether you have failed and it is complete or whether it is a stepping stone to growth.

      With that said, my philosophy extends to the 99% of the time when we are NOT dealing with irreversible consequences. If you want to live life by that 1% that is the exception to the rule, then go ahead. I’m just saying that by doing so, you are truly limiting your ability to grow and become your potential by focusing on those aspects.

      If there is something that you truly can’t move past, for whatever reason, then you may need more advice than you can get on a blog about fitness psychology.

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