Your mindset is the combination of several things.
- Cognitive processes (thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving).
- Your attitudes.
- Your beliefs.
- Expectations you have about future outcomes.
According to high-performance psychologist Michael Gervais, there are many types of mindsets you can have. Here are a few.
- A global mindset.
- A learning mindset.
- A rigid mindset.
- A competitive mindset.
- An aggressive mindset.
- A high-performance mindset.
For this article, we’re going to focus on how to develop a high-performance mindset.
You don’t have to be an extreme athlete or any particular age to enjoy the benefits of a high-performance mindset. This thought process is available to anyone. It’s about developing the right high-performance thought patterns to be your best.
Why is a High-Performance Mindset Useful?
A high-performance mindset is the optimal mindset for unlocking your best self.
To enjoy long-term peak performance in anything, you’re going to need a high-performance mindset.
Remember how we said that your beliefs are a part of your mindset?
Your beliefs determine your actions and your actions determine your results.
When you limit your beliefs, the frame of what’s possible for you is small and rigid.
With a high-performance mindset, you don’t set limits on your beliefs. In high-performance living, your beliefs expand along with what’s possible. Suddenly, things you thought were impossible before, now become achievable.
This is what we refer to as “The Art of the Impossible” in our training.
Here are several examples of high-performers in action.
- Alex Honnold completing the first free solo of El Capitan.
- Female surfer Maya Gabeira surfing the biggest wave ridden by anyone this year.
- Lockheed’s elite team – known as Skunk Works, building the first high-speed fighter jet for the US Army – 37 days sooner than expected.
- SpaceX building a reusable space rocket — one-quarter of what it cost a decade ago.
People with high-performance mindsets are accomplishing the “impossible” every year.
Read on to learn how to develop your own high-performance mindset.
A High-Performance Mindset is a Growth Mindset
How do you view failure? Your answer to this question determines whether or not you have a growth mindset.
People with a growth mindset see failure as a springboard for growth.
When you have a growth mindset, you don’t view failure as failure at all: you see it as an opportunity to stretch beyond your current abilities.
A fixed mindset assumes that the following qualities are “fixed” and can’t be changed in a meaningful way.
- Your character.
- Your intelligence.
- Your creative ability.
A fixed mindset is all about preserving what you already have. A growth mindset realizes that all of these things and more can be improved over time.
Your behavior, your relationships, your idea of what success and failure are, even your capacity for happiness are all influenced by which mindset you have.
A growth mindset supports a high-performance mindset because it drives a desire to learn and improve.
Being a life-long learner leads to:
- Embracing challenges.
- Persisting despite setbacks.
- Viewing effort as a path to mastery.
- Learning from criticism and past mistakes.
- Finding lessons and being inspired by the success of others.
Carol Dweck, author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” says, “no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”
High-Performers Know What They Can Control
Do you believe that you determine your fate? Or, do you think that life is something that happens to you?
Your answer to this question comes down to your locus of control.
The principle of locus of control was originated by Julian Rotter in 1954. He described it as, “the degree to which persons expect that a reinforcement or an outcome of their behavior is contingent on their own behavior or personal characteristics.”
People with a high-performance mindset believe in their own ability to control themselves and to influence those around them. This is a high internal locus of control.
The factor that affects your locus of control is known as the stability of the causal factor. This is a fancy way of saying that when high-performers fail, they chalk it up to their own ability—not bad luck or factors beyond their control.
“Commitment is you taking complete ownership of your life regardless of what is going on around or to you,” says snowboarder Mark McMorris—a 2x Olympic Medalist and 20x X Games Medalist.
McMorris has suffered several catastrophic injuries in his rise to the ranks of snowboarding’s elite.
Any of his multiple fractures and grueling recoveries would have been an excuse to retire. But in “Unbroken” (2018) a short Red Bull documentary about his life filmed by his friend, Adam Burwell, McMorris displays the mindset that won’t allow life-threatening injuries to keep him off his board doing what he loves.
If someone with a high external locus of control is the victim of a freak accident, they think, life isn’t fair, I can’t win.
Not McMorris, his high internal locus of control wouldn’t let him make excuses. He didn’t blame anyone else. He stayed committed to his passion and remained unbroken.
High-Performers Understand Cause and Effect
Having a high-performance mindset allows you to realize the time lag between cause and effect.
You can’t always associate today’s actions with tomorrow’s result.
High-performers trust that if they put in the work, results will come with time.
Having a high-performance mindset requires persistence and patience. You have to commit to a process of success and not give up when you don’t get immediate results.
High-Performers Appreciate Marginal Gains
Success is often the result of compounding gains.
“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done,” says James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (2018).
You won’t notice getting 1% better at something tomorrow, but by the time you’re 10%, 25%, or 37% better, you’ll start to see a significant change in your abilities.
This compounding effect works for relationships, income, health, habits—anything that you set your mind to improving.
What gets high performers out of bed and working on themselves each day is the knowledge that regular small improvements add up to large eventual gains.
High Performance and The Habit of Ferocity
Even before The Flow Research Collective was started, Steven Kotler studied the habits of high-performers. He discovered one of the keys to their success was stacking motivation.
When you stack motivational drivers, you build momentum into what you’re doing.
“The habit of ferocity is about stacking up all possible motivators,” Kotler says.
All of the top entrepreneurs, athletes, or artists that you admire do this to some degree.
It’s the reason they get up at 5 am, go to the gym when no one else does, or make active recovery a non-negotiable part of every day.
Stacking your motivation is about combining the activities that motivate you most and aligning them with your work. Being in flow, practicing gratitude, and having great conversations with people who share your goals are all examples of motivational activities.
A high-performance mindset is also about sacrificing short-term pleasure for long-term gains. This goes against our brain’s tendency to seek immediate gratification.
“The problem is we’re not living up to our full potential because we’re not in the habit of living up to our full potential,” says Kotler.
Developing a habit of ferocity requires perseverance. The Navy Seals have a saying, the only easy day was yesterday.
Perseverance can be trained through physical exertion. This is why regular exercise is so important.
While physical training will increase perseverance, you need grit to control your thoughts.
A high-performance mindset requires you to develop several types of grit.
The grit to…
- Be your best when you are at your worst.
- Master your weaknesses.
- Control your thoughts.
- Overcome your fears.
- Recover the right way.
When you commit to doing what it takes to gain perseverance and grit, higher performance should follow.
A high-performance mindset is both a state and a trait. Isn’t it encouraging to know that high-performance is a skill you can increase?
You can develop a high-performance mindset and accomplish the impossible!