grit | October 06, 2016

Grit and the Growth Mindset: Introducing New Speaker David Yeager

To what extent does mindset drive performance? Sure, inborn talent contributes to the achievement of our goals, but to David Yeager, it’s our state of mind that makes all the difference. Yeager, an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, is a leading authority on grit, performance, and the growth mindset—the belief that our abilities are not fixed, but mutable. And to him, this mindset is inextricably linked to our senses of belonging, certainty, and purpose. When we feel that we truly belong and that we are capable of contributing meaningfully—in our high schools, in our college classes, and in the workplace—we’re taking the first step on the path to success.

Yeager is an experimental developmental psychologist whose research centers on the myriad challenges facing adolescents: academic achievement, bullying, depression, trust, healthy eating, and others. Transition phases, he says—like entering middle school, high school, and college—are critical points in a young person’s life. When they internalize feelings of belonging and relevance, teens are primed for accomplishment. But when these sentiments don’t take hold, young people can easily lose their way. Yeager’s work looks to influence these psychological processes in a way that gets adolescents back on track and working toward their brightest possible future.


Yeager works frequently with heavy hitters in the grit and growth mindset fields, such as Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck, and was the subject of “Who Gets to Graduate?,” a major New York Times Magazine article authored by education speaker Paul Tough. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian.


In 2013, Yeager chaired a national summit on mindset interventions at the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, leading to the launch of the Mindset Scholars Network, an interdisciplinary research network housed at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. The Network has two flagship initiatives: the “National Mindset Study,” a test of mindset interventions in a national probability sample of high schools, and the “College Transition Collaborative,” which will test social-belonging interventions with a census of matriculating students at more than a dozen colleges. 


With an MA, an MEd, and a PhD to his name, Yeager is also a William T. Grant Foundation scholar, a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a Faculty Research Associate at the UT Population Research Center, and a Faculty Research Fellow at the UT Dana Center. His studies have earned awards from the Society for Research on Child Development, the American Educational Research Association, the Spencer Foundation, and many other groups.


For a leader in the fields of performance, grit, and growth, who merges the academic with the practical, look no further than David Yeager.


To hire growth mindset expert David Yeager to speak at your organization’s next conference or event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.


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authors | October 05, 2016