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The Value in the Mindset of a Champion: Analytical Essay

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In the book, Mindset, author Carol Dweck discusses the power behind people’s beliefs and how our beliefs can influence what we want and whether we succeed in getting it (Dweck, 2016). In each chapter, Dweck introduces a different mindset along with lessons on how we can apply the different mindsets into our daily lives to achieve success and reach personal and business goals. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset (Dweck, 2016). One chapter that I found to be motivating and having a personal connection with was chapter 4, “Sports: The Mindset of a Champion”. This chapter focused on having a growth mindset and the belief that you do not need to be “naturally gifted” to be a champion. People exhibiting a growth mindset believes that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts and that a person’s true potential is unknown (Dweck, 2016). Being a member of the USF Track and Field team along with having a passion for sports, I found myself inspired by how this simple lesson in having a mindset of a champion could benefit me in my performance as a runner and lead me to a successful career in Sports Management. The value in having the mindset of a champion allows athletes and business professionals to find success in doing their best and in learning and improving.

Over the course of my career in running Cross Country and Track and Field, I have suffered numerous sports-related injuries. One injury that stands out with me occurred in the fall of 2016, when I sustained a stress fracture in my foot. It was at this time that I found value in having the growth mindset of a Champion. Being a 4-year varsity runner and senior co-captain of my team, the news that I was out for the season was very disheartening. I questioned whether I would ever be able to run with the speed I once had or achieve any of my personal goals. This feeling of self-pity quickly ended once I changed my current fixed mindset to a growth mindset. My growth mindset of a champion has taught me how to overcome my mistakes and disappointments in life by embracing them as opportunities. In doing so, my response to these opportunities helped to define me as an athlete and build character and respect among others. It helped me understand I could lead my team in other ways instead of giving up and feeling sorry for myself. I found that being a mentor, helping with practices, and displaying a positive attitude was just as rewarding and helped motivate my team to win a Sectional title. After 6 weeks of being in a boot cast, I was cleared to run and started a rigorous training schedule consisting of long-distance running, weight training, and bicycling in preparation for the spring Track season. After hours of grueling daily practices, I went on to become a two-time Sectional champion in the 400m run and a state qualifier for the 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams. In addition, my mindset of a champion helped me to set new USF school records in the 400m run and DMR, along with being nominated for the 2018 USF Male Spring Athlete of the year. “Character, heart, and the mind of a champion. It’s what makes great athletes and it’s what comes from the growth mindset with its focus on self-development, self-motivation, and responsibility” (Dweck, 2016).

Connections to Business and Personal life

Sports researchers have found that people with the growth mindset found success in doing their best, in learning and improving (Dweck, 2016). This mindset was demonstrated by Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who was the greatest female athlete of all time. She won every heptathlon she competed in along with setting five world records and earning six Olympic medals. In sharing her secret to her continued success, Kersee states, “I don’t mind losing as long as I see improvement, or I feel I’ve done as well as I possibly could. If I lose, I just go back to the track and work some more” (Dweck, 2016). Another finding from researchers was that those with a growth mindset found setbacks motivating and informative. This mindset was demonstrated by Michael Jordan. After being cut from his high school basketball team, he was devasted yet embraced his failure. He practiced every morning before school and later in college was always found working in the gym on his defensive game and his ball-handling and shooting skills. Jordan believed that success stemmed from the mind, “The mental toughness and the heart are a lot stronger than some of the physical advantages you might have” (Dweck, 2016). Jordan’s mindset of a champion led him to become one of the greatest basketball players ever in sports history. A third finding that researchers identified was that people with a growth mindset in sports took charge of the processes that bring success and can maintain it (Dweck, 2016). This mindset is demonstrated in Tiger Woods, who became a golf star after winning his first Masters Tournament at the age of 21. Woods learned at a young age how to manage his attention and his course strategy. He constantly experiments with what works and what doesn’t by practicing shots and learning how to make the difficult putts on demand. Mastering great shots and golf swings is a work in progress and critical to maintaining one’s success. Woods’ mindset of knowing his game, what he wants to achieve, and what it takes to get there serves as a guide in controlling all parts of his game and helps to maintain his success as a professional golfer (Dweck, 2016).

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Although having the mindset of a champion has led many athletes to success, it can also have the same impact in the working world. Lewis Howes, a former professional football player, learned quickly the value of having the mindset of a champion in business after sustaining an injury that ended his football career. His quest to learn about business, marketing, and how to influence people quickly began in his search for a career in business. One of the most important things he learned from having a mindset of a champion was the possibilities in life when you commit to your vision and pursue it with 100 percent passion (How to Harness, n.d.). This growth mindset led Howes to become a New York Times bestselling author, lifestyle entrepreneur, high-performance business coach, and world-known keynote speaker. When people ask Howes how he did it, he always credits his success to having an athlete’s mindset. According to Howes, “Athletes learn how to visualize, and once you can envision it, you can achieve it. The rest is hustle, passion, and focus” (How to Harness, n.d.).

What the Experts Say

According to an article entitled, 3 Psychological Skills that will help you Develop the Mindset of a Champion, researchers from the UK put a variety of psychological skills to test by dividing participants into groups and examining which skills helped them perform better in a series of video game competitions. The results indicated that imagery, self-talk, and if-then planning were the best psychological strategies for improving performance fast (Morin, 2018). The article referred to the way professional athletes can talk to themselves in a way that enhances their performance and how they practice if-then planning when responding to challenges experienced when competing (Morin, 2018). The article indicated that whether you want to deliver the best presentation or ask your boss for a raise, applying the three psychological skills will help you do your best and lead to success (Morin, 2018).

Over the last few decades science has started to look inside the mind of the athlete. Studies have found that the brain of an athlete not only is fined tuned for a sport, but it may also carry a mental advantage to situations beyond the sports field (Voss, 2010). Another question raised by researchers is whether sports sharpen the mind? In a recent study that examined the results from a variety of studies performed by scientists around the world, Colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concluded that athletes did indeed show faster response times in tasks outside the context of sports indicating value in the mind of an athlete (Voss, 2010).

Conclusion

In reviewing the different mindsets and how we can apply them into our daily lives, I found the common concept behind Dweck’s lessons is the importance of recognizing the mindset that is guiding your life, knowing how it works, and having the power to change it if you want. The lessons in mindsets along with the ways they can be applied in your life can have positive effects in parenting, business, school, and relationships. When you alter your beliefs and focus on self-development, self-motivation, and responsibility, you will soon find that change is rewarding and the value in having the mindset of a champion.

Works Cited

  1. Dweck, C. (2016). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Penguin Random House.
  2. How to Harness the Athlete’s Mindset for Business Success. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.entrepreneur.com/amphtml/239003
  3. Morin, A. (2018, November 2). 3 Psychological Skills That Will Help You Develop the Mindset of a Champion. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/3-psychological-strategies-that-will-help-you-give-performance-of-your-life.html?cid=search
  4. Voss, M. W. (2010, June 1). Understanding the mind of the elite athlete. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/understanding-elite-athlete/

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The Value in the Mindset of a Champion: Analytical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-value-in-the-mindset-of-a-champion-analytical-essay/
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