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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Smith

Mindset, Part III

For the final chapter of this blog series, we’ll dive deep into what some might consider the most important “secrets” to success: growth mindset and virtuosity.

Growth In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” Stanford Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck states “in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” This perspective is opposed to a fixed mindset, in which people are confined by what they believe are their strong or weak traits, and are therefore limited in their potential for success. A fixed mindset avoids problems out of fear of failure, while a growth mindset embraces them as challenges and opportunities to learn. As Albert Einstein said, “Failure is success in progress.” Over the course of a lifetime, the outcomes of these two opposing viewpoints can be profoundly different. The Power of “Yet" To me, this is probably the most important aspect of someone’s mindset. Believing you are capable of adapting to and overcoming any obstacle placed in front of you leads to both fulfillment and great achievement. The amazing thing is, even if you’ve lived your entire life with a fixed mindset, you can still evolve! We are ALL capable of developing this growth mindset, it simply requires practice. Next time you are confronted with something and that voice in your head says, “You can’t do this” respond with “Not YET, but I WILL.” Then find a way! The power of that word “YET” can be life-changing! Willpower and determination are powerful tools. If you work hard and persist, you might surprise yourself with the result! If you’ve been reading my posts, by now you probably have deduced that I love supporting them with quotes. Putting it simply, renowned author John C. Maxwell said “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” An arguably even more famous character, Kermit the Frog, also said, “Just because you haven’t found your talent yet doesn’t mean you don’t have one."


The final aspect of mindset that I consider to be of utmost importance is virtuosity. What comes to your mind when I use that word? Some people think of spiritual or moral virtues, such as kindness, selflessness, or humility. With a background in music, I often think of the term “virtuoso” in reference to a violinist or pianist who is at the pinnacle of their craft (“great skill in music or another artistic pursuit”). The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, has a broader definition that can be suitably applied to almost any craft: “Doing the common uncommonly well.” What does this mean? It means excelling in the basics! Think of all the greatest athletes, musicians, dancers, actors, doctors, architects, or chefs of history. What is the one thing they all had or have in common? They have a mastery of the fundamentals of their craft. You cannot be great at difficult tasks until you master the simple ones.

Too many of us want to skip steps. Whether at the gym, in our career or bank accounts, or even with our personal relationships, everyone wants instant gratification (advertising companies know this all too well), and they have no patience to spend time on the basics before they become experts. The problem with this is that even if you do make it to the heights of success you desire, it won’t last without a firm foundation. If you go to work next week and are promoted to Senior VP of your company, you probably wouldn’t know how to handle the responsibility because you didn’t pay your dues. And if you woke up tomorrow next to the spouse of your dreams, the feelings of euphoria wouldn’t last because you haven’t developed a deep, committed relationship with this person. This is why people who win the lottery are much more likely to lose it all than maintain their level of wealth, because they never learned how to manage their money when had little, so they certainly don’t know how when they have a lot.

No matter what you do, if you want high quality results (and you do), you need to pursue excellence in the details (while still "keeping the main thing the main thing”). It isn’t just about spending time mindlessly going through the motions, it’s about intentional practice. This is where we come full circle — virtuosity requires focus on the right priorities, a positive attitude even in the face of life’s setbacks, and a growth mindset that rewards effort over results. Know your goals, have patience, don’t be afraid of failure (progress over perfection), pursue excellence, and success WILL find you.

Have more questions? I’d love to talk to you and help you develop the right mindset for success. Just go to our website and set up a FREE No Sweat Intro so we can sit down and chat about your goals.

Spencer Smith

Owner & Head Coach

CrossFit Donelson

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