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Growth Mindset - An Integral Part of YOUR Personal Success

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Week 1: What is A Growth Mindset?

Often when I tell people I am a professional pianist, they say, “Oh, I always wanted to learn how to play the piano!” To them, I respond with, “Why not learn now?” Why not stretch yourself? The concept that abilities can be cultivated through your efforts, strategies and help from others is the core of what is called growth mindset. Everyone can grow through application and experience. When we live with this mindset, we are curious about our lives. We desire to learn. Intelligence is something we have to work for. We understand that the hand we are dealt is just the starting point for development. A person’s true potential is unknown. We would answer my question “Yes, Janna, why not? I can and will learn to play the piano!”

Scientists are learning that people have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought. The major factor in whether people achieve expertise is not some fixed prior ability, but is purposeful engagement. People may start with different genetic endowment and aptitudes, but research shows experience, training and personal effort determine whether they reach the goals that matter to them. It’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, hard work and training. Charles Darwin and Leo Tolstoy were considered ordinary children. Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated as a child. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school varsity team!

When we feel stuck or that our choices are limited, this can be a symptom of a fixed mindset: the belief that the intelligence and qualities we are born with remain the same throughout our lives. Perseverance is a key ingredient to long-term success according to research. Stretch yourself. It’s the idea that “I am here to learn and the professor, people and other constituents are the resources I will rely on.” Very often after I’ve asked the question about learning to play the piano, the responses are “Oh it’s too late for that,” “I’m too old,” and, the most painful for me to hear, “I don’t have any musical talent.” (If that last statement resonates with you, please believe me when I say it is not true!)

For those living in a growth mindset, failure, or the possibility of it, does not define us. Rather we perceive failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. We seek out solutions-focused problem solving, as opposed to focusing on the problem. “I want to learn to play the piano. Who should I talk to about getting an instrument? What kind of music appeals to me? How can I find a piano teacher?”

Fortunately there is an abundance of research and scientific study behind this concept that we can learn from. Dr. Carol Dweck, a world-renowned psychologist from Stanford University, wrote Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, How We Can Learn to Fulfill our Potential. This book offers a deep dive into the power of our mindset and how we can create success for ourselves and those around us.

This blog is the first of a three-part series dedicated to growth mindset. In the next two, we will explore how you can begin to change your mindset and offer simple yet effective ways to do so.

In fact, this is just one component from the “4-Step Blueprint for Success” in which you can live your richest and fullest life!

You can learn more on Forward Coaching Team's website:

Janna Ernst, Life Coach

Sarah Hammond, Life Coach

“The mental toughness and the heart are a lot stronger than some of the physical advantages you might have. I’ve always said that and I’ve always believed that.” - Michael Jordan


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