I was quite anxious being invited to give a talk in Mossley school about growth mindset and the attitudes found in athletes as well as other people.
With no psychology qualifications, and only being a part of high level sport for 3 years, most of which was watching and training with far more developed athletes.. I’d hardly consider myself the perfect candidate.
None the less having rowed with people at all kinds of levels, been coached by some of the countries best coaches and ex athletes, I’ve been exposed to a great number of different approaches. Although the most successful all have one underlying feature. Even in the field of architecture and my degree the most talented people I have encountered share the outlook more commonly known as a growth mindset.
I entered the school armed with a press release for the paper, a short relatable PowerPoint for the children and a collection of medals and trophies I’ve gained over my short sporting career.
A growth mindset?
Well what exactly is a growth mindset and why is it suddenly becoming so popular?
The fundamental concept initiated by Carol Dweck of this mindset is the word yet.
“you’re not there YET”.
I suppose you could call it an optimistic attitude.
Many people, children and adults alike, regularly experience failure. I personally experienced a big personal disappointment whilst racing Nice ironman. Other people can experience this by not attaining results for university, percentages for a sales job, children in class tests.
Now in this situation the pessimist would be defeated. How could they ever do it? It’s not possible! The average athlete would settle, I can do better but that’ll do. The salesman will take his pay cheque a happy man, he didn’t need the bonus anyway.
But the one with the growth mindset won’t settle. They’re not unhappy, not defeated, but they acknowledge there’s room for improvement. An advanced version of themselves can manage this.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the best of everyone, but the optimism to grow for the best possible personal gain.
And it can be hard when you’re down to pick yourself up. The children at Mossley referred to this as “the pit” but understood there is another side, where the grass is truly greener.
But as is said time and time again, there’s no substitute for hard work. A resilient character with a perseverance to give their best will find endless amounts of opportunities and doors open for them.
So I found myself presenting this idea in front of the junior section of Mossley school, 200 fresh faces staring back at me, reminding me of myself not too many years ago sat through a school assembly.
And I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by the reception and politeness of the children, and staff, in Mossley school.
Many of them had or will grasp the concept of hard work and reslience, knowing all they can do is their best. And that hard work can open endless opportunities for their future selves.
A set of children that should make the town proud and I look forward to seeing what this next generation of Congleton’s youngsters bring to the future.