Last week we discussed how the opposite of Purpose is boredom. This week we’ll see how the opposite of Mastery is rigidity.
What makes someone a master? The line is constantly moving. New world records are set every year. A 4-minute mile was thought to be impossible until Roger Bannister broke through in 1954. Now high school students have accomplished the feat. To merely qualify for the Boston Marathon, a runner needs to complete a marathon in 3 hours, only a minute slower than the winning time in the first Olympics. This phenomenon is not limited to athletics. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 was once labeled unplayable but is now standard. In all fields, new techniques and training regimens constantly raise the bar.
The lesson is that experts must continue learning to remain experts. Masters don’t hang a signed plaque and call it a day. Since the line of expertise is always moving higher, you must continuously adapt and improve in order to keep up. It’s impossible to do so with a fixed mindset.
I have a relative with a fixed mindset. He:
Has an unsupported opinion on everything
Never admits he’s wrong
Thinks everyone else is an idiot
As a result, he attributes his success to skill, not luck. He never tries anything new, thinking that he already knows everything about it. One time, I asked him, if you’re an expert, can you teach me what you do? He just laughed. He’s in stasis - any action can wreck the illusion he lives in.
The opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. How can you have a growth mindset? Let’s turn these behaviors on their heads.
Have strong opinions, loosely held
Always assume you’re wrong
Find something to learn from everyone you talk to
If you use these mentalities, you will constantly recognize worthwhile new ideas when you encounter them. By experimenting with those ideas, you'll learn what works, what doesn't, and why. Improvement will follow and you’ll be on the path toward mastery.
So look at your life and see where you have fixed mindsets. Where do you have unshakeable opinions? When do you go into autopilot mode? Ask yourslf, “In what way am I wrong?” “In what way is this person right?”
By questioning the rigidity of your beliefs, you can foster mastery.
Writing of the Week:
I wrote an essay about how we can learn about expertise through the stories of Amarillo Slim, Dick Fosbury, and Shaun White.
1️⃣ Ted Lasso is an American Football Coach but uses a growth mindset to become a successful soccer coach in the Premier League.
2️⃣ Edward Nevraumont writes about the importance of a growth mindset in a traditional career.
Quotes of the Week:
💬 Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is essentially your own.” - Bruce Lee
💬 “How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” - Jerry Colonna
You can find more of my writing at chr.iswong.com.
Questions, suggestions, complaints? Email me at email@example.com.
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Leaving you in peace,
Love this edition. Another deep think. I'm drawn to the Colonna quote. And chris.iswong ... just chuckled as that shows your aptitude to test theories, growth mindset!1