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Inhibitors of Mastery – Part One

By Trevor Coltham

If you want to learn more about growth mindset, click here.

The more I travel my own enlightenment journey, the more I come back to several main concept/ideas that consistently get in the way of outstanding results.

These include:

  • The belief that we are born with fixed talents and intelligence
  • Failing to show up when it’s challenging (or really hard)
  • Poor maintenance of self (mindset, physical activity and nutrition)

First a short pre-frame.

I currently believe that the purpose of life’s journey is not about mastery at all, but a never-ending journey quest towards being the best version of you that you can be.

I’ve started to view it as an ongoing series of achieved goals/outcomes or mistakes you can learn from that opens my mind to even more possibilities.

Sometimes I have asked myself: “Why all that hard work, and what if I never really get there?”

When I reframe my thoughts, the journey ahead is exciting.

There are many ways to grow and upskill. With the amount of information freely available via google, podcasts, books, YouTube, formal education etc, you can always aim to reach another level.

Along the way, there will be discoveries, more to learn, skills to develop and essential differences to become aware of and utilise.

The first inhibitor to Mastery is the belief that we are born with specific talents and that our intelligence is static which puts limits on what we can achieve.

I look back as far as I can remember to see where this belief has tripped me up. There have been many examples.

In school, there were a few kids whom I perceived had serious talent. On the sports field there were those who could play any sport, make the first team and go onto represent regionally or national squads.

In my mind, they were born lucky as they had raw talent.

I believed as a kid that I wasn’t as fast, tall, skilled or creative enough. I perceived it would be impossible for me to compete at the other ‘talented’ kids’ level.

Again, the pattern emerged in my early career. There were people that had a natural talent for making money, programming computers or running their businesses. They were gifted, unlike me.

What I suffered from during this phase was an unhealthy fixed mindset.

I falsely believed that others were better than me only because of their natural abilities alone.

I’m not saying that having great genes isn’t useful; it’s only a part of the success formula.

What I was missing was a growth mindset. (Dweck 2006)

Watch Carol Dweck's TED Talk here

I now realise that great results and performance is a mix of some natural talent and a lot of behind the scenes' effort, focus, and hours of deliberate practice.

The most successful people are great on game day because they were training their minds/bodies through repetition, reading books, developing the abilities and mental strength required to perform when it mattered out of view from everyone else.

To move towards becoming an even better version of yourself, you need to change your current mindset.

In our schools, business, sports and across the board, we need to move from valuing talent and raw intelligence to focusing on encouraging constant growth and learning. This takes deliberate practice, being better every day and showing up repeatedly.

To help our kids and those we lead, we must move to provide feedback on the hard work, grit and effort.

 If you want to If you want to learn more about growth mindset, click here.