Carol Dweck is a professor of psychology at Standford university and a bestselling author. Her Award-Winning book, Mindset: the new psychology of success, explores why some people succeed and others don’t. In the shortest possible summary, I can give, Dweck says that the difference can come down to whether you have a fixed or a growth mindset
Fixed vs Growth Mindset
People who have a fixed mindset believe that all of their abilities and knowledge are set in stone. They think that that you are born with a certain amount of talent or intelligence and that no matter how hard they work, that they will never get better and there will always be more talented or smarter than they are.
People with a fixed mindset also love for people to think that they are intelligent and because they think that their intelligence is fixed, they hate to appear dumb because they don't think that they will ever be able to repair that mistake. It's the classic example of an old dog who believes they can't learn that new trick.
On the flip side, people who have a growth mindset believe that whatever talent, abilities, or intelligence they might have are just a jumping off point and that with enough time and effort, they will eventually be able to reach whatever goal they have set for themselves no matter how big or crazy it might be.
Now, before you go thinking, "well, that’s obvious, who would be dumb enough to have a fixed mindset?" I want you to think, after sparring rounds have you ever thought, "I suck" or "I'll never tap so and so" have you ever thought about asking a question at the end of practice only to stop because "someone my rank or experience level should know that and I'll look like an idiot in front of everyone"
I know I have.
The truth of the matter is everyone has and no one either has a totally fixed or totally growth mindset, it actually fluctuates all the time. For example, you can be having a great practice but then see one of your training partners submitting people with ease using a technique that you have been grinding away at to perfect with very little success, and now you start thinking, "I'll never be able to do that". Suddenly, your once "great" practice is gone to shit. The key is recognizing this happening and getting back to that growth mindset as much as possible.
Developing a growth mindset for grappling
Focus on effort- again, effort is one of the things, that is under your complete control. Sure, tapping people is awesome, but focus on getting down every single step of your technique right and mastering your "game" rather than being a Neanderthal and trying to rip your partner's arm off just to "win" in practice
Keep learning- again, I LOVE winning, but don't just focus on beating or outscoring your partner; test yourself; put yourself in bad or challenging positions. Allow yourself to be tapped now and then so you understand what not to do if your're in that situation.
Challenge yourself – constantly rolling with and tapping that skinny white belt with asthma might be fun, but its not going to get you better. Stop avoiding that upper rank that’s 20 or so lbs. Heavier than you. Enter a tournament you have "no shot" of winning. Test yourself, don’t be afraid to fail.
Set high standards- trust me when I say complacency is real and it can be really hard to break out of. Set your standard of training high and never come down for others make them come up to you. People are capable of much more than they think.
This will all take time. Just focus on taking things practice by practice, round by round, and eventually you will GROW into the combat athlete you want to be.