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The Power of "Yet"

The big buzzword going around in the education sphere right now is "Growth Mindset" - which is the belief that abilities and skills can be developed through hard work, persistence, determination and grit. The term was popularized by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford. Doctor Dweck has received acclaim for her research and publications relating to motivation and success.

Dr. Dweck's findings indicated that people who believe that they can improveif they work hard (people with a growth mindset) will perform at a higher level in the long term compared to those who think their success is determined by their natural tallents. They will also be more likely to accept challenges, and will be more resilient when they encounter failure.

(More detail regarding Dr. Dweck's research and findings can be found in her Ted Talk, "The Power of Believing That You Can Improve" or in her book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.")

These findings essentially prove scientifically what we've been telling our students all along: your success is up to you - up to your attitude and the level of effort you put into your training. This is the very reason we won't let you use the word "can't" inside the studio. It's a dirty word. It's a weak word. And it's not true!

Okay, so you can't do a jumping spinning outside crescent kick...yet. So you don't feel confident that you can hold your own in a fight...yet. That "yet" is so important, because it reveals your attitude. You aren't stuck at your current level of performance. We don't go out and recruit students who have the most talent. We will train anybody who is willing to put in the time and the effort and stick with it.

I am a perfect case study of this. I am not a talented martial artist. I have always struggled to measure up to the level of my peers. I had the worst kicks, the worst cardio, the worst fighting instincts of all the students of my rank. I still have my test paper from my blue belt test twelve years ago. I was totally eviscerated in the comments in the back. Because I sucked!

You know the funny thing about my peers, though? I have no idea where they are anymore. They all quit. They got to a certain level that they felt comfortable with, and stayed there. I kept working. It took a lot longer and I had to put in a lot more hours, but I outrank and outfight them all. I don't say that to brag, but to demonstrate that hard work and perseverance trump talent and strength every time.

So work hard! Don't give up! Power through!

And above all, strike that ugly word "can't" out of your dictionary.

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