Do You Have the Mindset of a Champion?



My daughter, Sweet P, was three problems in — about halfway —  before she started to cry. So, all-in-all, that wasn’t bad. At least she’d gotten started before the tears did.

Thing is, she is usually pretty good at math, but it’s getting tougher as she’s getting older. When she reaches a sticking point in her homework, I see it as a good thing – growth.

She  does not see it like this. At all. Challenges, are well, challenging and she may  cry, whine, complain. Lay her head down on the desk, pound it with her fist. Rant, stomp, blame me, blame the people who wrote the problems. Blame the cat who distracts her by looking cute.

After the drama, Sweet P will sit back down, look it over and get ‘er done.

No matter how messy it looks she always regroups and pushes through the trouble spots. After her fussiness, she makes the adjustments she needs, looks at the problem differently, and tries again. In the end her homework gets done, and the results actually get better as she goes.

Pretty sure this is a bit messier and less refined than what LeBron James or Alex Morgan demonstrate when they miss a shot, or a shot on goal – but heck she’s nine. And the key is, she adapts, reignites her determination and keeps going.

That’s one of the ways elite athletes succeed, according to research led by Dave Collins, PhD, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. 

 The Mindset of a Champion

Those athletes who reach the top of their sport share a particular mindset, according to the study. Not only do they continually push for improvement, and have deep internal motivation, but they respond to setbacks and obstacles and other challenges more positively and proactively. They are more determined when things go haywire. Even in the throes of adversity, they keep working to come back better, stronger, faster.

The second-tier athletes? Not so much. The study revealed that many were surprised by the difficulty and lost motivation. They didn’t push for the kind of improvement their champion counterparts did.

How You Respond Determines Your Success

Everyone suffers adversity, but those who succeed and climb to the top bring a certain resilience, attitude, and perspective that allows them to move on, to acquire the knowledge and experience and practice they need to become even better. 

It’s not so much the challenges they face – the study revealed the obstacles of the elite performers are not much different as those who finish second – but how they respond to the challenges that makes a champion or at least allows you to get through your math homework.

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