To be a champion in anything you have to have the mental abilities of confidence, concentration, and composure and you must use these abilities to seek your fullest potential. Recent research by Dr. Angela Duckworth has identified two mindsets about ability that people may hold.
Some hold a fixed mindset, in which they see abilities as fixed traits. In this view, talents are gifts – you either have them or you don’t.
People in the fixed mindset feel measured by setbacks and mistakes. They also feel measured by the very fact of exerting effort. They believe that if you have true talent, you shouldn’t need a lot of effort – Yet, there is no important endeavor in life - certainly not in the sports world- that can be accomplished and maintained without intense and sustained effort.
This is serious because many young athletes who have a great deal of talent at a young age can coast along for some time, outshining their peers. They may even come to equate athletic ability with the ability to outperform others without engaging in much practice or training. At some point, however, natural ability may not be enough, and others may begin to pass them by. Whether they can now learn to put in that needed effort is critical to their future success.
Other people, in contrast, hold a growth mindset of ability. They believe that people can cultivate their abilities. In other words, they view talents as potentialities that can be developed through practice - Everyone can get better over time. The term that has been popularized of a growth mindset is GRIT. Dr. Duckworth’s description of Grit: “The tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.” At the United States Military Academy, West Point, a cadet's grit score was the best predictor of success in the rigorous summer training program known as "Beast Barracks." Grit mattered more than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness.
People in the growth mindset understand that effort is the way that ability is brought to life and allowed to reach fruition. Far from indicating a lack of talent, they believe that even geniuses need great effort to fulfill their promise. People with a growth mindset not only believe in the power of effort, they hold effort as a value.
Developing a growth mindset is difficult, it’s hard-work, tedious, has many setbacks, and takes time. It’s especially difficult in today’s society where we have access to everything now and young people grow up in a World of getting things quicker and faster.
An example of this comes out regularly when working with kids to improve an athletes mechanics or technique. Often times, after only 2-4 reps of altering an athletes mechanics to be more advantageous, the athlete who is struggling to pick-up what we're working on will say - “It doesn’t work.”
After only 2-4 reps!? It may take hundreds if not thousands of reps to cement better mechanics, but that's the process it takes to make long-term improvements. This is common for coaches today as athletes have grown up in a world where they often get what they want, really quickly.
Characteristics of a Growth Mindset
- Success comes from effort
- Success comes from hard work
- Success comes from practice
- Intelligence can be improved
- Setbacks are a natural form of learning
- Learn at all costs,
- Work hard, effort is key
- Capitalize on mistakes and confront deficiencies
In the face of a setback they would work harder; they are resilient in the face of difficulties
Characteristics of a Fixed Mindset
- People are Born Gifted
- People have Natural Talents
- Traits are set in stone
- Intelligence is a fixed trait
- They have a need to look smart at all costs,
- Tasks should come naturally
- They avoid challenging learning tasks
- They hide mistakes and difficulties
In the face of failure they would reduce their effort or give up, become defensive, act up, act bored