Professor Dweck is clearly very busy at the moment, she has recently given a TED talk in scandanavia which you can see below. This has prompted me to develop 10 practical ways to help developing a 'Growth Mindset' which should help when working with children and young people.

My 7 year old son came up to me recently and asked me how he could improve the drawing he had done...maybe the work I have been doing is paying off!!

  • Avoid labels - "you are smart", "you are clever". Focus instead on how they do what they do.

  • Get them to explain their process "tell me more about how you did that, what was the strategy you used?"

  • Explain to the child that the brain is like a muscle which benefits from training. The brain can be trained through trial and error. The secret is to persevere and to fall in love with the struggle.

  • If they do something that is easy for them and they are expecting praise, offer them an 'opportunity' to stretch themselves by saying, "I want to give you the opportunity to show me how well you can learn".

  • Apologise for creating a game or practice that isn't challenging enough for them. You will know it is working when they say to you..."we don't do easy".

  • Ask them if they want the easy task or the harder one. Use this as a test to see if they are on track.

  • Use the 'horizon strategy' to keep the achievement of the task just out of reach but still visible. Give them checkpoints so that they can still see their improvement.

  • Explain that you are less interested in them getting the answer right as much as you are interested in how they got to the solution.

  • Create an award for the 'top struggler'. Reward the person who has tried the hardest and had the most fails.

  • Always explain that you can't make things easy because easy isn't fun. You want them to have fun and the fun comes from working hard at something.


I thought I would share this short video which talks about the career of Tom Brady, the multiple Super Bowl winning quarterback of the New England Patriots. Brady's story is pretty familiar to most people with even a passing interest in American Football. It is the true hollywood underdog story of a player that was never identified by scouts as being particularly 'talented' because of his lack of physical and technical prowess and as a result was drafted very late in the NFL draft programme and yet has become one of the greatest quarter backs of all time.

The piece illustrates nicely one of my central principles about the weakness of talent identification systems in that that they are very inefficient at making predictions of who might 'make it' at the top as they do not allow for accurate asessments of the true drivers of high performance which eminate from what I call the 'internal factors' of drive, dedication, determination.

The section that really stands out for me is when one of the contributors of the piece states that Tom Brady understands that the game is a struggle and he epitomises someone who loves the struggle. I think that this has to be a message that we get across to our players...if they can't learn to love the struggle and embrace the challenge of trying to continously improve then they should understand that they are not likely to reach their true potential.


Radio Show

As most of you know I spend a lot of time in the car (mostly schlepping up and down the M40 to Twickenham and back) and podcasts are my saviour. Not only are they a great way of passing the time but they are also an excellent way of me keeping up to speed with new research and also provide me with my own personal self development radio station.

I thought I would share a few of my latest favourites...

The 'Coach Your Best' podcast by Jeremy Boone has had some excellent guests on it in the last few episodes. The latest offering featuring Amanda Visek that looks into some research which categorises how children define fun within their sporting experience was particularly interesting

I really enjoy the 'Sports Coach Radio' podcast hosted by Glenn Whitney he has had a number of excellent guests but my favourite recently has been Dr Ross Tucker who has a fascinating discussion on the limits of human performance

Ari Meisel is a productivity expert who runs a brilliant website called 'Less Doing - More Living' his podcast is pretty eclectic covering a range of subjects from productivity to health to fitness. This interview with Nina Teicholz exploring the misinformation that we have all been sold around dietary fat for the past 20 years is a real eye opener (her book is on my Christmas list)

That's enough for now but there will be more to come...

All the best



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