5 Bad Attitudes to Watch Out For

I've written before about the importance of attitudes and how they influence our thoughts, behavior, and outcomes. Today, I want to talk specifically about five attitudes that I believe are bad and lead to negative thoughts, behavior, and outcomes.

1. A fixed mindset and an external locus of control
These attitudes are similar enough, so I'll talk about them together. A fixed mindset is a belief that most of your traits (skills, strength, speed, intelligence) are fixed, meaning you're born with them and can't do anything to improve them. This belief discourages you from improving yourself. It also causes you to always protect your ego, which can make you a bad teammate and deal poorly with competition.
Similarly, an external locus of control is a belief that external forces such as genes, other people, and your environment mainly control your outcomes in life. This attitude, like a fixed mindset, gives yourself little agency to control your life, therefore it decreases confidence and motivation.

2. A victim mentality
A victim mentality is a pessimistic belief that the world is out to get you and that people and institutions are oppressing you. Like with a fixed mindset and an external locus of control, a victim mentality discourages hard work, because it lowers confidence and gives you an excuse to rationalize laziness. It also increases your sense of entitlement, which further reduces personal responsibility. Lastly, it is depressing.

3. Nihilism
Nihilism is a belief that the world is meaningless, with no objective purpose, truth, or morality. This is definitely the worst attitude to hold, because it promotes giving up on life, depression, insanity, and immorality.

4. Hedonism
This attitude is similar to nihilism but not as bad, although it is still very bad. A hedonistic attitude is the belief that the sole purpose in life is to accumulate as much pleasure as possible and avoid as much discomfort as possible. It is the desire to take the path of least resistance. This attitude goes against everything sports is supposed to promote, which is discipline, delayed-gratification, self-improvement, brotherhood, teamwork, duty, and advancing human achievement.

5. Perfectionism and Workaholism
These attitudes are on the opposite side of the spectrum compared to the other four attitudes listed above. These attitudes are about having too much sense of agency and motivation. Being a perfectionist sounds like a good thing, but it often backfires and hurts you. It's impossible to do everything perfectly, so perfectionists often set themselves up for disappointment. This hurts their confidence and their ability to manage their emotions, which hurts their performance.
Workaholism stems from the belief that career success is the most important thing in life. This hurts your balance in life, which hurts your mental health, which then comes back to hurt your performance.

So many thoughts, behaviors, and outcomes can be traced back to these five attitudes. As a coach, if you notice that a player is lazy, discouraged, a bad teammate, performing poorly, or their mental health is suffering, instead of relieving the symptoms, treat the root causes of these things, which are their attitudes. Teach them to have more of a growth mindset and an internal locus of control. Defeat their victim mentality with optimism and a sense of personal responsibility. Help them find meaning in life. Motivate them to reach for higher goals instead of taking the easy path in life. Teach them perspective and help them find balance in life. Teach them better attitudes that lead to success, happiness, and social well-being.

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