Coach & Golf Pro Dr. Sue Shapcott on Embracing a Growth Mindset
Dec 10 2018
TRUSTED ADVICE FROM EXPERIENCED LEADERS
COACH AND GOLF PRO DR. SUE SHAPCOTT ON EMBRACING A GROWTH MINDSET
Because I was a child (golf) prodigy, I had dropped out of school at 15. I had no undergraduate, let alone a graduate degree or any way of researching the kind of things that I wanted to research. At 35, I went back to school. I did my undergraduate degree while I was working full-time, which was yet another challenge, and a growing experience to be back in college with a bunch of teenagers.
I got through a master’s degree program and really got interested in the work of a researcher called Carol Dweck, who is based in Stanford. She looks at how you perceive ability…What her theory basically says is that you can consider abilities as either a fixed commodity or a growth commodity.
If you believe that it’s fixed, and that you either have it or you haven’t, then you don’t practice as much. You quit when you face challenges. You are motivated just to demonstrate how good you are. I could relate to all of those characteristics. And then on the other end of the spectrum, you have a growth mindset: you believe ability is something that develops and grows, and can be fostered with strategy, practice, effort, and seeking help.
If you have a growth mindset, you engage in motivation. You believe that you can improve, so therefore you do ask for help, you do take golf lessons, you do practice. You start engaging in the behaviors that are going to maximize the chances of you improving. Whereas if you have a fixed mindset, then obviously you engage in behaviors that are going to decrease the chances of you improving.
If I could go back and change anything, that would be it. I perceived my ability as something that was special. I had the magic touch. That set me up for all kinds of failures. It made me less resilient. It meant that when I got knocked down, which inevitably we all do in life, then I didn’t get back up so fast.