I have found that the easiest client to coach is one that doesn’t already have perceived ideas about what it takes to be healthy.
In previous coaching articles I have written how important it is to have a ‘growth mindset’ compared to a ‘fixed mindset’, when it comes to changing what you currently have to something better.
A growth mindset allows you to take on board new ideas and attempt challenges you might have thought impossible to overcome.
A growth mindset is one that sees change is possible through hard work, grit, resilience and can be achieved through learning what is needed to be done.
A fixed mindset is one that believes that change is difficult, challenging and therefore it is not possible to improve on what you have, and that habits of a lifetime can’t be changed.
A fixed mindset is also one that already knows what will work and won’t work, when it comes to achieving the results you want.
It is the second type of fixed mindset I want to tackle in this article.
People who have already created a belief about why they are unable to achieve what they want or believe that whatever they try will never work, will always search out and find proof to justify their belief.
The economist J.K. Galbraith once wrote, “Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.”
What is the point of trying if you always end up with the result that you don’t want?
How is it someone has this belief and mindset, where someone else thinks they can achieve what they want and will keep working and searching for what will help them achieve it.
Beliefs are created based on the environment you are in and the people you socialise with. Confidence in what you believe comes from the experience of your environment and people who you have encountered through your life.
Even when new evidence and facts come to light, most people will still stick to what they already believe. A good example is an ongoing exercise myth that lifting heavy weights will give you big muscles. This belief is still widely held, which leads to many people staying away from strength training and the massive benefits it brings to health.
Lifting heavy weights can’t build more muscle unless certain hormones are produced. These hormones are produced in large amounts (needed for muscle growth) according to one’s gender and a consistently large amount of training over a 2-3 year period, not to mention consuming a very strict diet and living a very restrictive lifestyle.
Still, I get clients apprehensive about being asked to lift weights to help them become stronger and fitter, which they will achieve more easily than creating huge muscle growth.
What's going on here? Why don't facts change our minds? And why would someone continue to believe a false or inaccurate idea anyway? How do such behaviours serve us?