What’s in a Mindset?

Your limiting factor is rarely your lack of ability, or lack of knowledge, or lack will power, it’s your mindset. Your mindset will control everything that you achieve or do not achieve throughout your life. It doesn’t always stay the same and you can change it if you’re willing to try, but one of the two mindsets we’ll talk about will lead you further and the other will potentially send you in a direction that you will have to dig out of.


In her book, Mindset, which was given to me by one of my clients (Thanks Shelli!! Or maybe she was trying to tell me something….), Carol Dweck uncovers through years of research how two basic mindsetmindsets can affect all aspects of your life: work, school, sports, family, friends. Here’s a look at the two mindsets with descriptions and examples:





The fixed mindset does not leave you with many options when it comes to developing as a person, player, friend or sibling, because those with a fixed mindset believe that things are mostly carved in stone. Ability, talent and intelligence are what they are, they cannot not be developed much further, if at all. Having this mindset leads you to constantly trying to prove your self worth. If you are only so fast, you have to prove to others that your fastest is faster than their fastest.


Take John McEnroe for example. One of the most well known tennis players of all time….but also one of the most underachieving. John had one it took, the “talent”, the “abilities”, the “knowledge”, to be a great tennis player, and he was. But he never lived up to his potential, he won matches sure, but could never consistently win the big ones. But why? John was always out to prove that he was better, but never wanted to work for it. When he lost, he always had an excuse: it was too cold, it was too hot, I was too tired, I was jealous, I had sweat in my eyes. He always deflected his failure to something other than his ability. People with the fixed mindset will always have an excuse.





The growth mindset leaves the possibilities for your starting ability open and (relatively) endless. With the growth mindset, talents, abilities and knowledge are things that are earned, things that can be developed over time. Being bad at math now doesn’t mean being bad at math tomorrow. The events in your life are judged on will and effort you put into them, not solely on the outcome.


In the 1960s, the fastest women on earth was Wilma Rudolph. Wilma won three gold medals in track and field in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Of course you would want to believe that she was born with natural abilities and conquered her foes throughout her athletic career. Ironically enough, when Wilma was 4 years old she was stricken with double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio……yes, wilma rudolph-thumbpolio. Polio effects the central nervous system, leading to paralysis. Wilma came out of this with a paralyzed left leg and was told she would never use it again. After 8 years of constant struggle, the brace on her leg was gone and she began to walk normally. Soon after that she entered her first track meet, and ended dead last in her events. But knowing what she had gone through already, defying the odds given to her by medical professionals, she knew with great effort and willpower that she would eventually compete with the other girls. And, obviously, eventually she did.


Your mindset can take you as far as you want it to or cut you short. Don’t allow yourself to underachieve because your mind tells you that you’re as good as you’re going to get. I was here once, I realize now how much better I could have been in high school, academically, athletically and socially. My dad probably told me every day, but I didn’t want to listen. Luckily he continued to tell me (gentle pressure, relentlessly applied) and I finally wised up (mostly…..Rome wasn’t built in a day….hmmm, two references to Rome in one blog post, that’ll never happen again). Remember, you are your own worst enemy if you allow yourself to be. I wrote an article last year called The Lizard Brain, so as you can tell, I believe mindset is important. For any questions feel free to ask at info@scarlatostrength.com.





Monday is Chest Day



Monday is Chest and Tris


Tuesday is Back and Bis


Thursday is Shoulders


Friday is Legs (unless I’m feeling tired, which is most of the time, then it’s arms again….maybe some abs)


This is what I see every week. Plan on doing some bench press on Monday? Forget about it, they are all taken. It’s the same routine over and over and over again. Let me make myself clear, when people are in the gym working out, at least they are in the gym, I’m not going to complain about that. It gets frustrating when I hear constant complaints about bad elbows and bad shoulders and bad knees and bad backs….and this is coming from the same guys who are wearing knee wraps and belts and elbow sleeves because it “helps with support”. The other day one of the guys in the gym was talking about pain and said,”If it’s not my shoulders, it’s my back. If it’s not my back, it’s my knees. I’m going to be a crippled old man by the time I’m 40.” And fitness professionals wonder why people are scared of resistance training.


So what’s the point? This doesn’t have to be you. Resistance training should be a part of everybody’s fitness regimen because it is great for mobility, flexibility, stability and any other ility you can think of. The problem is that everyone has followed the bodybuilder routine for so long that we believe that is the only way to workout.


Want to know how to workout? Next time you’re at the gym, walk up to biggest guy you can find and ask him about his routine. Listen to what he says and do the exact opposite of what he says. If he says to do one body part a day, do every body part in one day. If he says workout every day, workout every other day. If he says do 5 sets of an exercise, do 2 or 3 sets. If he says wear a belt, don’t wear a belt. Do you see what I’m saying? Even if your goal is to gain muscle. People have put on much more lean mass with much less work working out a couple of days a week (for proof click HERE).


I admit, I am being a little bit of a hypocrite right now. For a good portion of my life I lived in the one-body-part-a-day club. I bench pressed on chest day, did back squat on leg day….and was ALWAYS in pain. My elbows hurt, my knees hurt, my back hurt. I’m not going to say I never have pain now, because that would be a lie. I will say that I do not have it often and it is rarely, if ever, significant enough to affect my routine.


Allow your mind to be open enough to accept that there may be a different way of doing things, that the beaten path may not actually be the way it has to be. This article is not about turning away from one way of lifting. It’s about opening yourself up to other ways…that may prove to be more effective.

Top 5 Books of 2013

Since everyone is doing their variation of the “Top whatever of 2013” I felt compelled to contribute my own. I am not a fiction book reader so this list will not be sexy in any way (sorry, no Shades of Grey on this list). This is a list of books that effected my life, business, training philosophy or mind set in some way. I’ll try my best to put them in order, but I can’t say that there is a particular order I would put them in….they are equally impactful:



5)  nevereatalone


Networking is important in any business and for anybody who wants to climb the corporate ladder (atleast networking will make this easier). This book will teach you the essentials of networking and how to keep track of all the people you meet along the way.




4)  firstthingsfirst



Admittedly, being organized has never been one of my strong points. I was never the person that loses their car keys any time they set them down (my wife) but I knew that, with a little time and effort, I could make my life a lot of efficient. First Things First helped put things into perspective and gave me some tools that made it easy for me to keep myself and my business organized.




3)  linchpin



Linchpin is one of 4 books that I read by Seth Godin this year, and since I figured that it didn’t make a lot of since to make a list full of Seth Godin books, I went ahead and picked out the one that was most influential to me. After I read this book is when my business went from mediocre to good. I’ve still yet to make the jump from good to great. Linchpin will teach you that, if you want to people to seek you out, if you want your job to beg for you to stay, you have to become indispensable.




2)  neverletgo



Last year I had the privilege of driving Dan John from Cincinnati to Indianapolis (I wrote about it HERE). I can only assume that the majority of you don’t know who Dan John is, unless you’re an avid weightlifter or discus thrower. His fitness material is priceless, whether you’re an olympic lifter, bodybuilder or just plain old gym rat, you can get great information from any of his books. More importantly, his outlook on life and his overall personality makes his material useful for any one.




1)  howtowinfriends



This book was going to be number one on the list regardless. These other books are fantastic and I strongly recommend all of them, but if you had to pick one…or you’re just lazy and don’t like to read a lot…this is the one you want. How to Win Friends and Influence People helped change, for the better, the way I communicate with others. If you deal with people on a regular basis (I think that includes everybody) then this book is for you





CrushIT     4hww_cover



I’m going to lump these two books together for one important reason. Doing what you love is important and I believe the majority of us get stuck in jobs that are convenient, jobs that we don’t necessarily want but they accepted us so you stick it out. Life is too short to wake up Monday morning wishing it were the weekend already. That doesn’t have to be you and these books can help you understand that.


Looking forward to this upcoming year and I hope everyone else is as well, but just remember, you don’t have to wait for a New Year to make a big change…everyday starts a new year.