“Experts agree that Jackson Pollock had little native talent for art, and when you look at his early products, it showed. They also agree that he became one of the greatest American painters of the twentieth century and that he revolutionized modern art. How did he go from point A to point B?” Carol Dweck, Mindset


Oprah Winfrey
Bill Gates
Billie Jean King
Benjamin Franklin
Charlize Theron
Simon Cowell
Steve Jobs
Vincent Van Gogh
Jay-Z
Michael Jordan
Nelson Mandela
Joan of Arc
Hellen Keller
Benedict Cumberbatch
Rosa Parks
Beethoven
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Stephen Hawking
Jesse Owens
J. K. Rowling
Thomas Edison
Malala Yousafzai

What does this list of amazingly successful people have in common?
All have persevered and overcome challenges in their lives to achieve great things.

Did they struggle?
Yes.

Were there obstacles in their way?
Absolutely.

So what quality did each person possess that propelled them to greatness?
A growth mindset.


“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” https://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/

Contrast this concept of growth mindset with that of a fixed mindset – the belief that basic qualities, such as intelligence or talent, are fixed traits; that talent alone creates success without effort.

Would Michael Jordan have been one of the greatest basketball players of all time with a fixed mindset? Not only was Jordan cut from his high school’s varsity team, he never got recruited to play for his top college team, and was passed up during the first two draft picks in the NBA. He used these “failures” as motivators to propel him to success. “I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and missed, and that is why I succeed.” (Dweck, 2006) He succeeds because he has trained his mind to see failure as a challenge and an opportunity for growth.

Carry the idea of fixed and growth mindsets not only into sports, but into business, school, and relationships. How could a growth mindset positively affect a student, parent, teacher, principal, or board member? How might a fixed mindset be holding someone back? Thomas Edison understood the mindset concept even before Carol Dweck conducted the research. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Thomas Edison)


How do you approach goals? Could a shift in mindset be a shift in success?

Growth MindsetFixed Mindset
I can learn anything I want to.I'm either good at it, or I'm not.
When I'm frustrated, I persevere.When I'm frustrated, I give up.
I want to challenge myself.I don't like to be challenged.
When I fail, I learn.When I fail, I'm no good.
Tell me I try hard.Tell me I'm smart.
If you succeed, I'm inspired.If you succeed, I feel threatened.
My effort and attitude determine everything.My abilities determine everything.

Check it out!

Mindset – The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.; Ballantine Books, New York, NY. 2006.