Lesson By Michael Jordan: Success–God Given or Part of Effort and Growth Mindset

Lesson from Michael Jordan –What does effort and persistence look like when you don’t give-up? Air Jordan Lengdary Commercial: This clip can be used to communicate and reinforce that great things can happen when someone has passion,persistence, a learning plan and strategies, an open and growth mindset, and does not give up. Not everyone can be a super star like Jordan, but everyone can grow and turn their potential into better performance. The message here is that you are not just born with talent and skills but is grown through hard work and set backs are part of the learning performance journey.

Daily Quote–Picasso and Growth Mindset a Self- Coaching Challenge

Daily Quote:

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

Reflection: Many neurologists and psychologist are just catching up to Picasso’s early understanding and keys to his learning.On of the key tenants of the “Growth Mindset” is that everyone can learn everything. It just takes effort, openness and understanding of how the brain works. I have become a real enthusiast of the Growth Mindset after reading after reading Dr. Carol Dweck’s book called the Growth Mindset.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Take the time to assess the last time you had a setback. My failure was __________________________________________________________________________________________

Then ask yourself some tough questions about that perceived failure:

What were the root causes for the failure?

How did I react to feedback about the failed project?

How could I have handled the situation better or differently?

What are some new strategies and tactics can I learn to rebound from failures, and emerge stronger to handle similar interactions or situations in the future?

I am I committed to become more resilient and learn from setbacks?

After reviewing you answers create a thirty-day action plan for becoming more resilient to failures and how to learn from them.a thirty day development action plan for

Finding the “trigger” point” for motivation to create a Growth Mental Set

Daily Quote: “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success


So what can you do to find the right “trigger point” for developing a more open and flexible Growth Mindset.  Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Listen to your intuition. Tuning into your gut feelings helps you focus on possibilities.  Act on the ideas that inspire your passion or as the DOORS song goes “Come on baby, light my fire.” Use your best energy for your best results.
  2. Find a challenging and yet achievable, tasks to tackle. Find the right balance between failure and small success ( PLUS ONE) by identifying the right challenge for increasing motivation. There is little learning without challenge. Make it your standard for operating: “In this running club we challenge ourselves and support others to do better by giving their best effort.” It’s critical, though, that you believe in your ability to meet these challenges, not on the first try, but with sustained physical and thoughtful effort.
  3. Set clear expectations. Pick a task that pushes you to a new level of awareness or strength. Instead of “Let’s start with an easy exercise today” say to yourself “Let’s try running some hills today that will be more difficult and I will feel better when I am done.”
  4. Move the needle forward. Questions are a powerful way to increase your options, and gain leverage. You can use questions to challenge your views, and to switch to more empowering mindsets. Ask yourself, “What’s a better way?”, “How can I jump that hurdle? ”, “How can I have fun while doing it?”, etc.
  5. Share stories of physical, psychological or intellectual struggle.Thomas Edison tried 1600 different combinations of filaments before he got the right one for his light. You have your own stories to share about learning and motivation. Make sure to focus on barriers or behaviors that you can control and change. Most of us have more control over situations than we think. Be aware of the different circumstances you are in then weigh the choices facing you and the alternatives available to you.
  6. Be a good role model. Own your mistakes and show how you learn from them. You can set the standards in regard to your own acceptable behavior. “Wow a screwed that order up. What a mistake. Let me review what I did. I’ll try to slow down and pay attention to the details so that doesn’t happen again.”
  7. ” Praise getting smart not being smart”.  Intelligence, expertise, and genius are all built through EFFORT AND HARD WORK. Set the the expectation or norm for praise at finding and fixing mistakes not getting things done quickly. As Carol Dweck says to students making the effort to change “I love the way you reviewed your steps and tried new strategies.

Growth Mindset: Research and Reflections on the Power of Grit

” Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out, not just for the week, not just for the month,but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Angela Lee Duckworth

” No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

What is grit and the effects of it on short-term motivation and the development of a “Growth Mindset”? It means having the ability to separate short-term losses or failure by taking the time to stop what you are doing, reflect on the lesson you learned and experiment with new approaches that might work better to reach the long-term goal. The method used by effective leaders is to stop, reflect on what is working or not, think about a different strategy or tactic to try next, set a new goal, and go for it. If that Plan B doesn’t work be flexible enough to try something else, always committed to the big picture.  This is grit. It’s the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

According to Dr. Duckwork “Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, and Kelly, 2007. p. 1087-1088) ” Can a leopard change its spots? Can a human change their personality and become gritty” ? Generally personality research has found that personality characteristics are stable over time. ( University of California: Nave, Sherman, Funder, Hampson, and Goldberg, 2010).  But it is important to understand that our behaviors can be influenced by the environment and habits can change over time. We may not be able to change our genetics but we do have the capacity to change our brain and behaviors.  We do have free will and our brain is malleable.  In similar vein, someone may have a genetic predisposition to develop heart disease, but if that person makes the choice and effort to eat healthy, be physically active, and not smoke then the manifestation of heart disease is less likely. For most people becoming more gritty requires a plan, effective effort and practice, feedback, and small-success over a long period of time.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Do you want more grit? Start here:

1) Write out your plan for changing a specific behavior or habit – establish your baseline, set a goal, define a clear goal and set-up an action of activities for reaching the goal.

2) Eliminate obstacles or interferences for change – What are your barriers? Is it no exercise routine, too much watching sports on TV, internet meandering, poor eating and snacking routines? 

3) Keep a Personal Change Journal – Writing down your successes and failures has been shown by research as a powerful tactic for supporting motivation, monitoring your feelings and emotions. Work on solutions.

4) Share the plan – Share your plan with someone who is supportive yet can offer feedback on your progress

5)    Keep track of your successes – Remember the days when you would receive a gold star for exceptional performance in grade school? Give yourself a gold star for every success you have during the day.

6) Never. Never. Never… give up. Success is a marathon…ultramarathon, not a sprint. There will be peaks and valleys. Expect failure, but don’t accept it. Learn from it and keep moving forward. You must remain passionate about your goals.

7) All of this hard work and effort will payoff if you keep at it. Personal change is difficult and takes time. You need to overcome obstacles and embrace them.

References Duckworth, A., Peterson, C., Matthews, M., and Kelly, D.  (2007).  Grit: Perserverance and passion    for long term-goals.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; (92), 1087-1101. Nave, C., Sherman, R., Funder, D., Hampson, S., and Goldberg, L. (2010). On the contextual independence of personality: Teachers’ assessments predict directly observed behavior after four decades.  Social Psychology and Personality Science; (1), 327 – 334.

Growth Mindset: Dealing with Failure…Easier said then Done.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. Nelson Mandela

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill

Reflection: From my experience and observations resilient people have the unique ability to look at failures in a different way than people who fail  and let it stop them. Resilient people do some of the following: frame the failure as a learning experience; use reflection to look at the situation as an opportunity or a problem to be solved. You can hear them say, “What is the lesson I need to learn from this? What are other alternatives for solving this problem?  What is this experience trying to teach me? How can I move forward? What do I need to learn,so I don’t make the same mistake next time?

Re-focusing and snapping back from failures is one of the most difficult tasks to learn when trying to live by the growth mindset principles. It is incredibly difficult to hear that your hard work and effort has not resulted in success. Yet on the other hand missing your target, especially when you have done what you thought was your best effort, can be the beginning for learning and finding new opportunities and ways of doing things. Think about Thomas Edison who it is said failed failed 5,000 to 10,000 times before succeeding in inventing the first incandescent light that would last not the light bulb. Thomas Edison must have been thinking about his many failed attempts at producing an effective light bulb when he said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Thomas Edison two years and many failed attempts before he would discover success. It is has been said that he used over 6,000 fibers to light his bulb. One reporter asked Edison, “How many times are you going to fail at creating the light bulb?” Mr. Edison replied, “Son, I haven’t failed! I’ve simply discovered another way not to invent the light bulb!”
Experiencing failure and listening to others feedback about your “flop” can sometimes feel like a personal attack. Self-doubt creeps in. Confidence wanes. Positive energy is depleted. Your internal self critic shouts things like “You are so stupid and such a loser”, ” It’s not my fault.” So what can you do to over-ride all this negativity and keep moving forward. First take a deep breath, then reframe the failure into an opportunity for learning. Listen with an open mind and less defensiveness to the feedback you are getting. Reflect on suggestions and feedback and choose to work on the feedback that helps you develop into a more self-aware and competent person. Then pick yourself up from the hurt feelings, disappointment and blow to the ego and do what you need to doby figuring out what the life lesson is from this experience. This resilient approach will take courage, optimism and planning.

Remember resilient is defined: “as being able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.” And, “able to carry on and grow after failing or being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, stressed, hurt etc. There are no epic failures only lessons to be learned.

So the question becomes how does a person accept and recover from failures or setbacks?

Here is a model from Jane Peskett of the MIndset blog that you might find helpful in processing the emotions and disappointment of failures in more constructive and positive way. Here is Resilient/Feedback Window for your use and experimentation the next time you have a failure.PeskettFailure2015

First, be relentless in your quest for feedback. Understand that feedback is providing you with information about what your audience wants, and it is not a criticism of you as a person. Listen to the feedback, and ask probing questions. Make a plan to improve based on the feedback, ask others to review your plan, and hold yourself accountable for making those changes. Resist the urge to defend yourself or make excuses, even if you think you are right. It is difficult to hold back when you feel you have more information to offer, but sometimes, what you don’t say is more revealing about your character than what you do.

Second, focus on what you can control. While you can’t control what other people think, you can control your own reaction. Do you accept failure with grace and poise, or get frustrated and anger? Or do you try to learn from the mistake and move forward. Maybe this a good time to use the De-Afulizing tool, or count to 20 like your dad and mom taught you or simply go for a walk.

Next, re-frame the failure as an opportunity for learning and growing. Sure, it’s lousy to fail at something that is important to you. No one wants to get the “dunce cap” at the awards banquet, but reframing and looking for the lesson learned helps you let it go and move on.

Last, ask yourself – what is the life lesson I can take away from this situation? How can I use this as a leverage point to grow, improve, and evolve as a self-directing learning machine? Remember you always have the choice to see it as a devastating event that you can use as an excuse for not growing and getting “stuck” in life; or as an opportunity  or life lesson that stimulates you  to grow, progress, and learn from mistakes. There will certainly be more failures in all our futures, but knowing and accepting them as use part of life keeps you motivated to keep taking risks and reaching toward your full potential as a fallible human being.

Self-Coaching Challenge:

Tough questions to ask yourself after a failure: What were the root causes for the failure? How did I react to feedback about the failed project? How could I have handled the situation better or differently? What are some new strategies and tactics can I learn to rebound from failures, and emerge stronger to handle similar interactions or situations in the future? Develop a thirty day development action plan to become more resilient.

Part I : Two Proven Scientific and Mindset Growth Tools for Completing New Year’s Resolutions

New Year Resolutions and Goals: We love them, we hate them, and we all have difficulty fulfilling them. Setting too many general goals is the downfall for most of —exercise more, find a new job opportunity, eat right, save more money, spend more time with the kids and family, be more positive, go to the dentist, take your medication, buy a new car, finish writing your novel, complete your college degree etc. We all set them even if we don’t write them down ( research shows this helps with completing them) and we all have excuses why we don’t complete them—too busy, too many goals set at one time, I forgot them, no willpower, so little time to accomplish them or poor motivation and no plan to complete them. So what does the science of Growth psychology say about how to go about achieving them? What do you need to know and do to make your goals become a reality?

While there is no magic wand that you can simply wave to achieve your goals; there are some proven methods and techniques that give you a better than 50/50 chance of reaching them. Here is what I found from the research and my own experience that can make your goals a reality rather than a pipe dream. Just execute more effectively against these recommended steps to ensure you achieve the goals you set. Let’s explore the “Plus One” smart steps you can take but keep in mind that you are uniquely and wonderfully made; so take what you can use and tailor it to fit your situation and needs. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all people formula for success. It’s about the adventure for finding the ways that work for you and your situation. By picking and using some of these mindset tools and proven techniques for personal change you will stay focused on achieving the goals you set for your everyday living and will be on the road to a more meaningful and purposeful life.

Step 1: Increase your Self-Efficacy and Believe in Yourself

Believing in yourself means confronting and overcoming your doubts about yourself. It means discovery and applying your strengths and learning new skills.  Interesting concept: it takes an element of self-understanding and a commitment to reaching you potential. Believe in yourself. We all have certain dreams and perceptions.

However, when the dreams and perceptions are shattered, successful people look at things through positive eyes and view it as a new opportunity.

2. Use Plus One SMART STEP process to create specific goals that are realistic, measurable and achievable  over a specific time period.

Effective goals are specific (How much weight do you want to lose? How much time will you spend with family each week? How much money do you want to invest monthly? What one thing do you need to do more of to complete that book you have been working on for years? realistic given your present life style and situation, measurable and with set time deadlines. The key to effective goal setting is being realistic and specific about the behavior you want to change. Being able to manage the goal completion process takes persistence, patience and clarity of purpose.

Next post what one tool do I and many other researchers recommend for doubling your chances of reaching and completing your New Year’s Resolutions.