So mindset is mostly bullshit. Let's get that out of the way at the outset and you can decide if you are too sensitive to read any further or not right now.
Still with me? Okay, let's explore this.
Unless your name is Dr. Carol Dweck, your opinions on mindset are likely wrongheaded or steeped in some asinine mysticism from your art or some burly defensive tactics instructor. Let's break that so you can actually become a competent fighter, a more capable martial artist, and just a better all around human being.
Whenever an instructor says "mindset" as an answer to any question put to them by a student, I know they don't have an answer. Mindset becomes this catchall phrase that seems to be the answer to everything but means nothing. It's a shitty response to any legitimate question and I lose so much respect for instructors who are teaching law enforcement, military operators, or any other personnel facing potentially life or death situations when mindset gets talked about in any meaningful way.
I still shake my head over officer safety instructors from when I was a police recruit or coaches from martial arts when I think back to how mindset was spoken of in this nearly religious and reverent tone. Mindset isn't god. At best, it's the church you go to in search of god.
Do you know what god is? Training is god.
Nothing improves mindset, this mythical idea of being mentally strong, more than training does. When you are good at something--and I mean genuinely good at something, not "social media" good--then mindset doesn't factor into the equation.
Skill trumps hope, every time and all the time.
Show me someone who has survived a force-on-force encounter and I will show you someone who had good training, even if they mistakenly believe it was somehow their high level of midichlorians that saved them...oops, I mean mindset. (Because believing in something as esoteric as mindset isn't much different than believing in the Force.)
Mindset doesn't draw a firearm. Mindset doesn't clear a dummy round so you can keep shooting. Mindset doesn't perform an emergency reload for you when the target hasn't been zeroed out. Training does all of that.
So fuck mindset.
I took a firearms angle on that, but it applies equally well to martial arts, emergency driving or, hell, even cooking. Get a meal from a trained gourmet chef and compare it to one cooked by someone with no training who has a "chef's mindset" and let me know which one is better.
Do you know when I turned completely from mindset? When I was diagnosed with cancer. It wasn't because I had cancer; it was because at the same time, a friend was also diagnosed.
Both of us were fit, healthy athletes when we received our respective diagnoses. Everyone was shocked. Everyone struggled to understand how two people so dedicated to health and wellness could end up with cancer. Everyone told us we would fight it and win because we had "warrior mindsets."
18 months later, my friend was dead.
Seven years later, I'm still here.
Is that because I'm the better fighter? Was he just weak? Did I have a better mindset when I was diagnosed? Was his mindset not strong enough?
No, it was none of that. My cancer was caught early enough to treat effectively; his was, tragically, not.
Both of us wanted to live. Both of us wanted to beat cancer. Both of us went into treatment with 100% conviction. It didn't matter.
Timing mattered. Baseline health mattered. Doctors, nurses, and specialists mattered. Our compliance with treatment plans and focus on risk reduction mattered. What didn't matter was our mindsets because, I assure you, he wanted to survive cancer as much as I did.
He was not mentally weaker than me, nor was given to any behavior that would make you think he was not a fighter of the highest order.
I still miss him. His wife and children miss him. We all know he would have done or believed anything to still be here now with us all--he remained positive until the very end of his life and it just wasn't meant to be.
Tell me again how important mindset is.