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August 6, 2018, Author: Dan Wagstaff


In todays age, mindset is a term that is used loosely, to say the least. It is marketed heavily in the health and fitness industry so I’d like to share some thoughts I have on the topic.

This blog has been written to give some clarity, and hopefully some useful information and tools for you to use when your mental resolve is tested.

I’d like to start with a question. Do you act, behave, or put in the same amount of effort when no one else is holding you accountable?

Once upon a time, I met a woman who preached that she would always leave a room in a better state than it was when she walked in. I liked the thought of this notion, however it hasn’t always been at the forefront of my mind.

Once upon a time, I had a coach who used to ask if we would put in the same amount of effort if we were completing the session alone, with nobody to count our reps or record our times. Would it matter if we cut a set short or ran for 10 minutes less if no one was there to see it?

Once upon a time, I read that the strongest people are not those who show strength in front of others, but those who win battles we know nothing about. This resonates with me in so many ways!

So what then, is mindset? Is it something reserved for those at the top of their game? Is it unlocked by chance? Is it only those special people who have the “will power” to control certain situations who are able to harness the power of the mind?

I feel it actually comes down to the individual and how they define the term.

As defined in the oxford dictionary, mindset is: The established set of attitudes set by someone.

Take that a step further and look up words that are synonymous with mindset and you will find attitude, ethos, mentality, psyche, and outlook to name a few.

So where does this set of attitudes come from? Are these attitudes cultivated from within? Or are they fostered in the environment that one spends most of their time? Personally for me, I feel that its a little bit of both.

Many times, I have witnessed incredible feats of human strength and mental resolve in my personal life as well as in the media from people I have never met, both just as inspiring as each other. What these external events have done within me was get me thinking about how I would respond when faced with challenging situations and how I could live my life to develop a stronger mindset. Something I am still working on. Something i’ve realised needs to be worked on daily to become unshakable and a big factor in working on this daily is what sort of questions I ask myself.

Certain instances have stirred up thoughts and values within me, and others have been a time where I have had the opportunity to associate and spend time with a person or people with an inspiring story. Both of these creating internal and external values and attitudes.

If we look at the aforementioned examples at the beginning of this blog, they are unique to me and my interpretation of what mindset means. Ensuring you leave a room in a better state than when you walked in, requires a great pride in your own presence. A great Ethos.

Not cutting corners, shaving reps in a workout or not completing the required time or distance on a run requires great personal discipline. An attitude of knowing you have put in the work to get the result.

Working through battles alone and showing strength not to others, but to yourself requires a strong Psyche. When your outlook appears to be bleak, your mentality towards the situation prevails.

Internally in each of these situations, the quality of the questions determines the quality of the answers and ultimately the outcome. Will anyone know if I don’t tidy up? Will anyone know if I only do 3 sets instead of 4? Will anyone know if I give up? The answer to these questions, is yes. One person will know, and that person is the only one that matters. You!

For me, having a powerful mindset comes down to your ability to use or remove emotion from a situation, assess it logically, choose what to think and feel about it and then act accordingly. That situation could range from battling work related stress, addressing challenges with children, siblings, and partners, dealing with the trauma of losing a loved one, coming from behind to win a race or sporting event, or rising to the occasion and completing something you once thought impossible.

Sitting here right now as I write this, there are situations for me personally in which I am having my mindset and internal resolve tested. Thats part of life. Once again, it comes back to your own personal perception of the term mindset itself.

Think back to a time, when you can openly admit to yourself that you were tested but the outcome was not favourable for you. At work, in your relationship, training for a race or a decision during a race for example. You made a decision to act or react, respond, or behave a particular way and then down the track thought to yourself, ‘I really could’ve handled that better’. Learning from previous experience is one of the best ways to develop your resolve and outlook for future events.

I’d like to end this blog with another question. Think about what mindset means for you personally? Remove any preconceived ideas you have from societies interpretation and come up with your own definition. Attitude, ethos, mentality, psyche, outlook. Do any of these words resonate with you? Or do you already have your own set of attitudes and values? Better questions, lead to better answers.

Mindset: Owning your decisions, resilient through adversity, tenacious through setbacks, gracious in victory.

Coach Dan