Perceived Effort and a Growth Mindset

How do you perceive effort? A simple children’s story can highlight the answer for most of us. Our gut response to the question anyway.

There’s an old parable that I’m sure you’ve heard. It’s about two animals. One of them is born with talent but erratic, the other is plodding but consistent.

This next piece of info will give away the story, but you’re smart so you’ve probably figured it out already. The lesson this story teaches is one you’ve heard 1000 times before: ‘Slow and steady wins the race’.

But did any of us actually WANT to be the tortoise? I know I didn’t. I still wanted to be a hare…just one who took fewer naps. I still wanted to be fast, and I still wanted to win without effort.

Effort is for those without talent. At least that’s what the story of The Tortoise and the Hare conveys. And that effort might just allow you to beat someone with talent- if the talented person messes up enough. In other word, the tortoise can only win if the hare makes a mistake.

This conclusion is just plain wrong. 99% of people are successful because they put in the work. They maximize their effort day after day for YEARS. It didn’t just happen overnight, though sometimes it certainly appears that way.

When new clients walk in the gym and see some of our more advanced athletes it’s easy for them to think ‘Man, she’s a great athlete.’ and just assume they’ve been that way they’re entire life. After 10 years of coaching, let me tell you those people are rare. Almost everyone in our gym became an athlete through thousands of hours of effort. They weren’t just born with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to be fast, and I still want to win. Now, however, I’m wise enough to know that it’s my my talent AND my effort that’s going to get me there.

So, are you the Tortoise or the Hare? Or both?


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