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Growth Mindset and the Power of Yet

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Dr. Jimmy Onate

Dr. Jimmy Onate, university professor and high school coach, shares his perspective on the student-athlete growth mindset and the power of "yet".


We asked Dr. Jimmy Onate “What is a growth mindset to you and why is it important?” Here’s his take:

I'll take this from the academic side of things. There's one thing that really rang true to me recently. I've read it again and read it again, is the word “yet”. And I really liked that. I recently listened to a podcast with somebody talking about “yet” and how powerful the term is versus the term “but”. For example: they're pretty good, but they're not yet at this level. And that can really determine how somebody interprets your message. Another example is, they are a potential Division I college athlete, yet they need to improve their strength or their speed or their mindset. Take my athletic training students at the university as another example. They're good students, yet they still have a way to go. I really love the idea of using “yet” in my conversations.

The opposite of the “yet” is the “but”. An example of using “but” as an excuse could be “I would have had a chance to go pro, but my parents didn't put me in the travel academies”. Or “I would have had a chance to go and get a high profile job, but they didn't really like my attitude. I’ve said those things to myself. I didn't get a job at a prestigious university about 15 years ago. If I would have done this or that better, I’m sure they would have offered me the job fully realizing now I just wasn't ready and nor was I good enough at that point to accept that job. So for me, growth mindset is directly related to the term “yet”. it's very simple to translate and relate to kids.

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