Defensive Thinking

Focus on succeeding rather than avoiding failure.

Have you ever met someone like this?

  • When presented with a challenge, they quickly explain why they can’t do it.
  • When you share an idea, they’re ready to shoot it down before you even finish speaking.
  • They readily explain why they won’t succeed before they even try.

This type of mindset is called defensive thinking. It’s when someone’s priority is to avoid loss, rather than achieve victory. The primary goal of a defensive thinker is not to achieve a goal, but rather to avoid defeat and embarrassment.

As the saying goes: whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. Defensive thinking is a dangerous mindset that prevents your growth. It stems from a lack of confidence and a fear of public embarrassment. But without risking failure, we can never experience success.

Defensive thinking is dangerous because it’s easy to mistake it for humility. But a poor self-image is not humility; it’s a lie you tell yourself that will prevent you from even attempting to achieve your goals.

Defensive thinking is something to avoid in all walks of life. In the context of Jiu-Jitsu, here are some examples of defensive thinking:

  • Avoiding a tournament because the thought of loss is too embarrassing for you to handle.
  • Avoiding rolls with people who are better than you.
  • Staying at a gym because you’re comfortable there, even if you’re not learning.

Further study