One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when trying to improve performance is mindset. When I say mindset, I am not talking about the “If not you, who” mindset talks. I am referring to a growth or fixed mindset. In my years of dealing with students and internet folk, the most common is fixed. Current trends are to call these types boomers or fudds, but that does nothing to alter the mindset. First let’s look at the two different types:


Those in a fixed mindset the desire to “look” skilled is high on their priority list. This can come in the way of comments, replies or showing something out of context. They avoid challenges because that might alter the perception of skills. They also tend to downplay, or mock effort put forth on improvement as they are “already good enough.” This type of person can also feel threatened by success of others. We see this a lot. Someone is starting a rise or gaining something, and the fixed mindset person attempts to downplay the success or starts attacking the other person.

Most of us are guilty about having a fixed mindset on something so we can all identify. We don’t accept criticism and ignore it. The problem becomes that in these areas we will never see our full potential. We are as good as we will ever be in that area. Not as good as we could be. Setbacks or failures generally lead to walking away with the “it doesn’t matter I know how good I am” attitude


Those in a growth mindset are trying to develop skill. Even if they are good, they are trying to get better. A bad day, or event just makes them work harder. They do the work and feel that more work will help them achieve mastery. They also see the work of others and use that as inspiration when others find success.

Those in a growth mindset will in time reach their full potential in whatever they are working on. Now, this does not mean good, it means as good as they possibly can be. The accept advice and criticism in the effort to get as good as they can be.


I am writing this article to try and get people to take an honest look at where they are. Performance is not just focused on shooting sports. We can all perform things across our daily lives better. This audience has the focus of firearms, tactics and possible application of our skillsets under the worst conditions.
We owe it to ourselves and all those around us to take a hard look and get into a growth mindset. We should be at our full potential.

As for the people in a fixed mindset, you now know what they are looking to do. Encourage them to look at growth then leave them to their own world. You can not change them, only they can.

Ash Hess
A competitive shooter and Gov Sales Specialist at Knight's Armament Company.

Co-Founder of Quantified Performance, LLC.

I am also a Retired US Army Senior NCO. My last assignments included serving as the Senior Writer for Small Arms in the Weapons and Gunnery Branch and the US Army Infantry School Marksmanship Program developer at the Maneuver Center of Excellence Fort Benning, Georgia.

Army Schools include US Army Master Marksmanship Trainer Course, Rifle Marksmanship Instructor Course, Urban Combat Leaders Course, Air Assault, Rappelmaster, Senior Leaders Course, Army Basic Instructor course, High Angle Marksmanship Course, and Unit Armorer course.

I also attended the TigerSwan Basic Carbine course, Defoor Proformance One day Carbine Refresher, Advanced Carbine and Scoped Rifle courses, Sionics Weapon Systems M4 Armorer course, Modern Samurai Red Dot Pistol, and the MDTS Practical Small Knife 1course.

Four combat tours totaling fifty-two months overseas.
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