Whether in sport or in the world of work, why do some people do OK, some feel they have failed and some others – a much smaller number of people – excel and become hugely successful?

Many high-performing sports people end up being hauled in by commercial companies to help them boost motivation levels and productivity, change the organisational culture and improve sales. It’s no surprise: high-performing sports people have characteristics, behaviours, habits, and mindsets that undeniably helped them achieve their targets and success.

What mindset helps these people do well, and win? Having a certain state of mind is fundamental in reaching your full potential and finding the true limits of that potential – often referred to as a ‘Growth Mindset’: people with such a mindset overcome adversity repeatedly – they are resilient, somehow finding the strength to accept hardship, without surrendering. Such a mindset points to a combination of welcoming challenges, embracing criticism and failure, a keenness to always learn, and being inspired by the achievements of others.

Half business man half sports man ready to start a race

What else is needed?

Research shows that a small number of ‘winning attitudes’ emerge time and time again: ambition, optimism, and seeing (or even: creating!) opportunities.

We’re all different; each person who has success has a unique combination of attitudes that drive their top performance. Some people are driven by external circumstances, triggering them to push themselves to high levels of achievement, whilst not losing sight of the end goal. They also don’t give up and intensely dislike losing. They keep their eye on the ball, they remain super-focused: achievers plan for success and failure with unfailing focus and discipline.

We recently interviewed young English athlete Jack Schofield – in his early twenties, with bright ambition and a very grown-up mindset that gets him places – geographically speaking, for sure, and in terms of sports achievements, whether that is qualifying for KONA, Age Group Ironman Champion or medalling at Long Distance World Champion events.


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