Part 3 of Training to Win: All Successful People Have ______!

It may be one of the most iconic John Wayne movies filmed.


“A drunken, hardnosed U.S. Marshall and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father’s murderer in Indian country.”


Recognize the movie?……



Here’s the trailer…



This western was filmed in 1969, and it is worth watching for the story as well as the  thematic music. Throughout the movie, one specific character trait is demonstrated by John Wayne’s character Rooster Cogburn and Mattie (the teenager) ….



In a recent Ted Tv presentation, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth cites a study she and her research team conducted.  They studied students and adults, and their research question was….


“Who is successful here and why?”


Her team looked at cadets at West Point to see which ones would advance.


Her team went to the National Spelling Bee to see who would compete successfully.


Her team observed rookie teachers, wondering which ones would make it to the end of the school year. Of those who lasted, which ones would improve learning outcomes for students?


Her team even observed sales people to see which ones would keep their jobs. Who would make the most money?


In each of these scenarios, one trait emerged to ensure success.


It wasn’t social intelligence.


It wasn’t good looks.


It wasn’t physical health.


It wasn’t IQ.


It was….


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


Research shows that students who have the most grit are more likely to graduate from high school.


As a special education teacher, I notice my students who are the “grittiest,” are the most successful. They are the ones I worry about the least when they move on from our small, country K-8 elementary school to the “big” high school….


Angela mentioned that she is often asked by parents “How do I motivate my child? How do I instill a work ethic? What can I do to ensure my child will have grit?”


Her response—she’s unsure. However, she states the best idea for building grit in kids is the concept of “growth mindset”, which was developed by Carol Dweck at Stanford University.

“Growth mindset is the belief that the ability to learn is NOT fixed. The ability to learn is related to your effort.”

Angela further explains that children who understand how their brains work and how they learn, are the ones who persevere. They develop grit!

(To view Angela’s Ted tv presentation, click the link below…)


My belief is that EVERYONE needs to adopt a growth mindset. If you’ve been following our blog for some time, we’ve explored this concept before. Here’s the initial blog post, and a follow up blog post that contains a mindset quiz. Take it and see whether you tend to prescribe to a fixed or growth mindset….

Mindset (introductory blog post)

Mindset Quiz


To really have a thorough understanding of mindset, I highly recommend Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. It explores how our mindset impacts all areas of life- education, relationships, career, parenting…




Start thinking of ways to challenge yourself. To grow. To improve. To better ensure your success.



Now think of ways to foster grit in your children…


Consider these scenarios:

*Your child comes home from school complaining they aren’t “smart enough” to do their math homework. What would you say?…


*Your child is hyper-focused on earning A+’s. Would you think this was a good thing?


*Your child is interested in starting guitar lessons. You remember your experience taking piano lessons as a child: you quit after X number of years. Would you encourage your child to take lessons?


*You mention to your child that you are too old to learn a new language.  Do you feel justified in saying such a thing since some research shows the optimal time of learning a new language is birth to seven years of age?


While working on this blog post, I was reminded of a commercial that resonated with me. Months back I shared the link to this commercial on my Facebook timeline. My friend, Crystal, helped me locate the link on my wall, and I’m excited to share this commercial with you….



You can never stop learning.


They will always learn from you.


Now THAT’S how a parent demonstrates growth mindset and GRIT to their child! I hope that we recognize and seize opportunities such as this for our son, Liam.  I hope this inspires you to look for those windows of opportunity to help your child/ren stretch. They will be better for it! You will be too!



Next week we will continue our series Training to Win! Don’t miss it!





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