Growth Mindset: Transforming Beginner’s Foolishness into Triumph – S2E5

In a world that constantly pushes for perfection, the “Be Better Tomorrow” podcast, hosted by Jason Growth MindsetFisher, offers a refreshing perspective. Its latest episode delves into the concept of embracing a growth mindset and the journey of self-improvement. This episode not only resonates with those seeking personal growth but also provides practical insights into adopting a growth mindset.

The episode serves as a potent reminder of the value of embracing the journey of self-improvement, regardless of where one is starting. By showcasing his vulnerabilities and triumphs, Jason Fisher equips his audience with the confidence to tackle their own metaphorical mountain biking trails. Whether you’re looking to enhance your physical health, professional skills, or personal relationships, the “Be Better Tomorrow” podcast is a treasure trove of wisdom for those willing to embrace the sometimes uncomfortable, yet incredibly rewarding, path to self-improvement.

For those inspired by Jason’s message, the invitation is open: dive into the “Be Better Tomorrow” podcast, embrace your foolish beginnings, and embark on a journey towards becoming a better version of yourself each day.

Carol Dweck’s foundational book Mindset

If you like this show check out our others like Busy Procrastination

Growth Mindset Transcript

Hey everybody, welcome back to the Be Better Tomorrow podcast. I am your host Jason Fisher, looking forward to helping you be better tomorrow than you were yesterday. Man, it is such a weird time of year, just waiting for the snow to melt a little bit so I can get out and ride. Took up mountain biking last year, it’s one of those things I did to improve myself, to give me a little more exercise, to get out in the sun, you know, work on my heart so I don’t die so early. Hope you’re finding things to help you improve as well, preferably something outside, get you a little more exercise. Maybe you live in one of those great places where you can actually do these things year-round, I do not. I do not enjoy the cold, so being outside in this weather, not for me. But I will go out and ride when it gets to be high 40s, low 50s, and I’ve got some winter gear to ride in. The problem is the trails on a mountain bike course can’t be ridden in a lot of bad weather. So there’s a freeze-thaw cycle I’ve learned about, you can’t ride when the water’s going to bubble up through the ground after it’s frozen and it’s thawing out, it actually makes the trail really soft, you wear ruts in it, and that’s not what we want to do, because then somebody has to go out and fix that. And since I volunteer for the trail team, I would be one of those people trying to repair that. At least I would only be fixing my own mistakes, or I would at least be fixing my own mistakes, I suppose.

All right, well I want to kick this thing off like we’ve been kicking off the last couple. I’ve really, really appreciated you all sending in your letters, your questions. If you send those in to jason at, I’d be glad to answer anything on the air that I can. This one comes from a listener named Michelle. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Be Better Tomorrow podcast and appreciate the insights and encouragement you provide. Your recent episode on embracing our foolish beginnings and the importance of starting somewhere despite initial fears truly resonated with me. It’s refreshing to hear such an honest discussion about personal growth, but I’m curious, could you share more about a personal experience where you felt like a fool at the beginning, but it led to significant growth or success in your life?

Yes, Michelle, everywhere. Everything I’ve done has pretty much led in that direction. That’s why I’ve learned this lesson the hard way and hoping you don’t have to. In particular, I try to take on new things all the time because I don’t want to lose that beginner’s mind or that foolish feeling. So recently, as I kind of mentioned at the top of the show, actually, I took up mountain biking. Now, I haven’t really ridden a bike in 20 years, might have been 10 years ago, I went out with some friends on a mountain bike trail, and I actually felt so bad that I didn’t do it again for 10 years. But we moved and moved to a location fairly close to a trail. And I thought, you know what, I’m gonna just go try it out. And the bike that I have is probably 20 years old. It’s not sized right for me. It was a loaner slash I kept it because he never wanted it back from gift for my brother-in-law. And it’s a decent bike back in the day. But definitely mountain bikes have changed so much that it’s it’s out of shape for what you ride now. And again, he’s much shorter than I am. So it’s not sized for me. But I said, you know what, if I if I do this, then I will go out and I’ll buy a bike if I’m going to stick with it. And now mountain biking is a pretty isolated task. Some people go in groups. I tend to go by myself because it’s one place I can just go get away, be alone with my thoughts. But the few times I did run into people, I got strange looks, because they’re all riding these new higher end, or at least middle end bikes with front and rear suspension in a lot of cases, and I’ve only got barely a front suspension. The shocks were old, their old spring shocks probably needed to be replaced. I have learned since it’s called down biking, it’s a thing you do when you want to ride an older bike and challenge yourself. So I’m just gonna say I was doing it before it was cool. But there’s definitely a moment where a guy really in good nature, maybe I don’t know, maybe he was a jerk. And I’m just taking the wrong way, but gave me a hard time. And I felt a little bit foolish. And that might have been what pushed me to finally say, you know what, I love this, I’m going to keep doing it with or without a new bikes, but I’m going to get a good bike. So I can see how much of a difference that it makes. And I want to say the first time I did a two mile little loop we have, I took three or four minutes off my time, just having that new bike with bigger tires and nice suspension. It felt a lot nicer to ride, I had to get used to it. But I very much felt foolish in that space. But if I didn’t, I would have never continued to ride. Now it would have saved me a lot of money in my bike and my gear. But I would have a great exercise that I can go and push myself physically and challenge myself and make sure that I continue to get better. Now if I go out and ride with, you know, some of these young guys, because I’m older, they’re going to blow me out of the water, I’m still going to feel embarrassed. But that’s not the point. The point is I compare myself to myself, and I’m better. Well, I haven’t ridden in a few weeks because it’s been cold. But when I get back out there, I will get better every day. And that’s the challenge. That’s really what I’m trying to accomplish. Whether I’m doing it physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m trying to do things to help me be better. Thank you for that letter, Michelle. If you would like to send me a letter and have me answer it, or maybe not answer it on the air, you can feel free to say that in the message. Feel free to send an email to me at jason at, and I will get to the message as soon as I can.

All right, everyone. Hope my voice sounds okay. I rode my mountain bike this afternoon, and unfortunately I was breathing really heavy because I’m old and out of shape, and I think all the friction of the air passing through my mouth, breathing hard, has roughed up my larynx a little bit. So if it sounds a little bit off and my voice sounds harsh, that’s why. I’ll try to mute every time I clear my throat so that doesn’t become an issue. But here’s the deal. I’m going to start a series here where we’re getting a little bit back to basics on personal improvement and development. I’m going to start by talking about the growth mindset. Now if you’ve been around any kind of personal development for any length of time, you’ve probably heard this term. You may have read the books. You know what I’m talking about. And that’s fine. I find that most often people don’t need new information. They need to be reminded of the foundational true information that they already know and be encouraged to act on that information. So we’re going to walk back through the growth mindset, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, you can jump right in and pretend you knew all along. It’ll be great. So the idea of a growth mindset as compared to a fixed mindset is believing that you can change, that circumstances can change, intelligence and skill level can grow. As opposed to, you were just born a certain particular way, and that is a fixed attribute of your identity and who you are, and so you can’t make any changes. You can’t adjust that. Let me give you an example. A lot of people say things like, I’m just not good with names. Well, sure, because you’ve never made an intentional effort to remember people’s names. Let me tell you a little secret. When I’m going to a place that I’m going to see new people regularly, I write their names down. Usually in a Google Keep note somewhere, and then right before I walk into that place again, I look at that sheet so that when I’m walking back in, I will have that person’s name on the front of my mind. Now, they may not come back a second time, and I’ve blown it, but it doesn’t hurt. That’s how I get good with names, because I’ll eventually remember that person’s name. Believing that you have a fixed mindset, they’re just not good with names, and you’re not going to be able to improve that skill. That’s what prevents us from growing in so many different areas. I get a little bit ahead of myself. This foundational work was done by Carol Dweck, and that’s D-W-E-C-K. She is a research … I don’t know what her exact title is. She’s a professor out of Stanford, and she was doing this research on this fixed and growth mindset, originally starting with children, trying to understand why some kids grew and some kids didn’t. Here’s a really interesting factoid about it that she discovered along the way to spoil at least one great thing from the book. When you praise your children, for example, if you praise them because they’re so smart or they’re so talented, as opposed to they worked really hard, you must have worked on that for a while. You developed that skill. It actually helps to create a growth or a fixed mindset in your children. If you’ve got little ones, don’t compliment them on fixed attributes as if they did anything to earn that, if that’s the case. Instead, you compliment them on the work that they did, and they’ll work harder, recognizing that the work is what brought them into this and what made them better. Now, here’s the thing. None of us have completely fixed or completely growth mindsets in all areas. We’re probably fixed or growth mindsets in a particular area. Again, you don’t remember people’s names. When I was coaching volleyball, I asked all the girls if they were improving. They might have said not a lot, but then I said, okay, think of yourself two years ago. Think of what you could do then and couldn’t do then. It’s not just because you got taller. It’s because you’ve worked on technique. It’s because you’ve practiced. It’s because you’ve drilled. You’ve gotten better. The same things are applied to intelligence, to math. A lot of the girls would say, well, I’m just not good at math, or I’m just not good at language arts. You’re just not good yet, or you don’t enjoy it, so you don’t put in the extra time to get to where you need to be. That may be the case as well, but let’s acknowledge that and admit to ourselves that it’s not some external force working on us, but it’s just the fact that we don’t want to do the hard work to get better at what we need to get better at. So if you haven’t already and you want to know more about this, Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, is the foundation of work in this area. If you’ve read any personal development books since this was written, and I’m trying to remember the date and I don’t have it offhand, you’ll probably read this and feel like it’s derivative, because it is the original source. She was the original researcher looking into all these things, and a lot of people have piggybacked off of that work, including myself right now, to find out why we think the way that we do and to help change the way we think so that we can improve down the road. Now you may ask yourself, why does this matter? Why is it important? Well, if you believe that certain attributes about yourself are immutable, unable to be changed, then A, you’ll give yourself an excuse in those areas, but B, you might also be discouraged when it comes to personal growth and development. I’ve worked with a lot of people who I’ve heard the words come out of their mouths. Well, that’s just the way I am. My mom was like that too, as if you can’t escape the rat race or the hamster wheel that is our family development. We pick up a lot of things that we might think are genetic, and they’re really just the environment and the culture we grew up in, whether it’s the way we pronounce certain words, the way we think about things, what excites us and what makes us sad. All of those things may have come from a cultural history, but they’re not necessarily permanent. Here’s the big thing that Dweck found in her research that I think is helpful when you’re looking at creating positive growth in your life. People who have a growth mindset are less afraid of failure because they see failure not as an end of their ability, but as the beginning of their growth opportunity. When you have a fixed mindset, when you think you will eventually reach the end of your intelligence and that’s all the further you’re going to go, and now you know how dumb you are, you’re afraid of failure and you’re afraid of letting people see you fail. There’s an anecdote from somewhere that has stuck with me ever since I heard it. It was positioned as kind of the way men think and the way women think. I don’t think that’s the case, so much as it was a fixed and growth mindset kind of idea and it was a programming class. The teacher had the programming class and the student came up and said, hey, I don’t know how to do this assignment. Can you give me a hand? The teacher walks over and she’s sitting in front of a blank screen and the professor asked, well, what do you think you need to do first? Well, I don’t know. He kind of looked at her and again, it was a girl in the story, but that’s not necessary for the story. And he did control Z, which is undo. And suddenly all of this work appeared where she had tried and worked on things, but she didn’t want to be seen as reaching the end and failing because she had a fixed mindset that made her think, well, I’m just too dumb to get this or failure means I lose. It’s a bad thing, whereas failure is not a bad thing unless you give up. Failure is where we start to go, ah, I am pushing the edge of the envelope. I’m doing the most work that I can and eventually this work will be in my zone of comfort and I’ll be pushing past that as well. That’s what happens. So there’s a zone in the middle where we’re comfortable. We can do this thing all day long. And then there’s this next zone. It’s like, oh, it’s a little strenuous. Maybe I have to think about it. I can’t talk to you while I’m doing it. But then there’s that next zone is like, okay, really have to focus and concentrate and I might fail. That’s where we’re really learning how to do new things. That’s where we’re really growing. But people who have a fixed mindset are afraid to get there. So they shy away from unfamiliar things. They think that talent is static. It’s not something you can grow. It’s something you’re born with. They can’t accept failures because they, they think it’s a judgment upon them and their identity and not just a, oh, I’ve hit the end of my knowledge right now. This is where I start to grow. So understanding this, I think it becomes really obvious why this is important to personal growth. If you don’t really believe that you can grow and change, you’re going to stunt your growth. But when you understand that most things in your life, most things about you are in flux and malleable and you have this neuroplasticity, which is a fancy word for your brain can continue to change. I know they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you’re not a dog. You can learn as long as you’re alive. So like I said, this is going to be a bit of a series, a short one, but I wanted to get back to the basics so we could all be on the same page. So we’re going to have future episodes about the science behind the growth mindset, real life success stories. I would love to hear from you. If you had something about learning what a growth mindset is or in a place where you had a fixed mindset and then you realized it and you were able to grow out of it, please send those to me at Jason at I’d love to share them with listeners, strategies for cultivating a growth mindset, and of course it’s application and professional and educational opportunities, which is part of what we’re all about. In the meantime, go ahead and reflect on your own mindset. Look for places where you have a fixed mindset. Listen to your language. Do you say things like I’m just not good at that or that’s not something I can do or, or I don’t have time for that. That’s a big one I hear that frustrates me. You have time for the things you make time for and it’s okay to say I don’t make time for that. Don’t act as if it’s completely outside of your control. Closely associated with this is the internal and external locus of control. We’ll probably touch on that a little bit, but that’s knowing what is and what is not inside of your control. And if you believe that certain things are within your control to change because you have a growth mindset, you’ll be much more successful.

All right. That’s all we have time for today. I’ll go ahead and encourage you to share your initial thoughts with Jason at Any other questions you’d have, same email address, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening and tuning in. I’m going to ask you to do me a favor. If this is your first time listening, please subscribe wherever your good podcasts are found, whether it’s Apple, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, wherever else you could listen. Please go ahead and subscribe. That helps us, helps our numbers grow, helps me know I’m being successful in helping people. Tell a friend, tell an enemy. Maybe this is somebody you’ve been frustrated with for a long time because they have a fixed mindset. Just send them this episode. I’ll straighten them out. No problem at all. Anyway, that’s all I have for you. I’m Jason Fisher, and I hope you found something in this episode that will help you be better tomorrow.

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