Whether you love him or hate him, it’s difficult to deny that Tom Brady is considered one of the greatest football players of all time. However, Brady is proof that if you think of talent as a fixed trait, then you risk missing out on individuals whose growth mindsets propel them to greatness. There is a distinction between a fixed mindset or the perception or belief that basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits, as opposed to a growth mindset, where a person believes that their skills and knowledge can further develop with effort, learning, and persistence.
Brady’s football career began as a second-string quarterback for his high school JV team. Ironically, his “talent” was as a baseball player, where he excelled so much that he was considered to be drafted to play for the majors. However, Brady decided to pass the opportunity and attend the University of Michigan, where he would again be second-string. He was only given the chance to really play his last two years. Admittedly Brady said, “I never had a lot of great ability. If I don’t really work at it… I’m a very average quarterback.”
It was his growth mindset that helped him improve his skills enough to be considered for the NFL draft. Still, it did not come easy. The New England Patriots drafted him as the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Tom Brady’s draft report says he “has a poor build; skinny; lacks great physical stature and strength; lacks the mobility to avoid the rush; lacks a powerful arm; and, can’t throw the ball downfield.” With a report like this he was lucky to get drafted at all. He again served as a backup quarterback and played in only one game during his first season. However, when the starting quarterback was injured his second year, he knew it was his opportunity to show what his hard work and determination can do. Despite being the 14-point underdog, Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to an incredible Super Bowl victory and earning him the game’s MVP award.
What followed is a 20-year career in a sport where most quarterbacks average three years, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Brady holds 54 NFL records, 9 Super Bowl appearances, 6 Super Bowl wins, and 4 Super Bowl MVP awards. An essential factor that likely has led to his success is his growth mindset and something that many might ignore based on his unimpressive performance at the NFL’s annual scouting combine. What Tom Brady has taught is that talent alone will not lead to success but requires an incredible amount of effort. He has a reputation of being an incredibly hard worker, sets high goals, and doesn’t like minor setbacks get in his way.
Tom Brady’s story teaches us that it isn’t where you start; it’s how you finish. Whether you are struggling in a particular subject or a goal you have set for yourself, don’t let minor setbacks get in the way of your ultimate goal. With an enormous amount of effort and persistence, you too can accomplish greatness. This week’s #MakeItHappen Monday is all about having the right mindset. Let us know what areas you are working on a growth mindset and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social.
Go make it happen,
Matias & the YTeach Team
“A lot of times I find that people who are blessed with the most talent don’t ever develop that attitude, and the ones who aren’t blessed in that way are the most competitive and have the biggest heart”.
– Tom Brady