Turia Pitt: A Growth Mindset in Action

Turia Pitt knows how to take on challenges and overcome adversity.

Completing a double Bachelors degree in Engineering (Mining) and Science at the University of New South Wales in 2010, Turia went on to successfully apply her learning as a mining engineer at a prestigious diamond mining company in Western Australia.

Not content with only pursuing academic and career goals, Turia also excelled in many other areas of her life. She was a contestant in the Miss Earth Australia contest, a professional model, and a successful ultramarathon runner.

Tragically, on 2nd September 2011, whilst competing in a 100km Ultramarathon in the Kimberly region of Western Australia, Turia was caught in a grass fire and suffered burns to 65% of her body, including her face. She was placed in a medically induced coma for 6 months; underwent over 200 operations; had her left foot amputated; lost all the fingers on her left hand, and two on her right. In total, she spent more than two years in hospital recovering from her burns.

Obviously, Turia’s life would never be the same. To say that she’d suffered a setback would be an understatement. But Turia did not let the events of September 2011 define her. She understood that, although circumstances beyond her control had radically changed her life, she was still able to grow. She had achieved so much growth in her life already, why couldn’t she achieve even more?

In the years that followed the recovery from her accident, Turia took on many new challenges. These included:

  • Completing a Masters of Business Administration from Southern Cross University.
  • Competing in Iron man events, including the gruelling Hawaii Ironman.
  • Walking the Great Wall of China Track and the Kokoda Trail.
  • Authoring best-selling books including: “Everything to live for” and “Unmasked”.
  • Becoming a sought-after and acclaimed speaker, headlining the National Achievers Conference in Brisbane 2018.
  • Finalist for Young Australia of the Year.
  • Shortlisted for Australian of the Year.
  • NSW finalist for Telstra Business Woman of the Year.
  • Winning Westpac Woman of the year 2013.
  • Founding the School of Champions to show others how to achieve their goals.

Turia Pitt completes Ironman Hawaii in 2016. Photo: Delly Carr for Ironman

Turia credits much of her success to her Mindset. She understands that the person she is today does not have to be the same person she is tomorrow. She understands she’s capable of significant growth.

She says, “As I overcame each barrier and obstacle in my way, my confidence grew and grew.”  This is how authentic Growth Mindsets are developed. Not by simply believing you can grow, but rather by taking the right sort of actions and actually experiencing the reality of your own growth!

But a Growth Mindset is not everything. Achieving growth takes action!

On her School of Champions website, Turia says: “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking I’ve been able to do all of that because ‘I’m just like that’ … It’s because I’ve picked up some really bloody powerful, and totally learnable strategies along the way.”

Yes, Turia believes in herself, but she backs that up with action. She has developed her Habits of Mind and applies these to achieve her goals.

Perhaps even more importantly she’s not content with “more of the same”; she’s constantly stretching herself to achieve increasingly difficult goals. She’s continuously developing her Habits of Mind and building the ability to do more difficult things.

Turia’s Mindset is the part of her that encourages her and gives her the resolve to take on challenges. But it is her Habits of Mind which allow her to succeed at those increasingly difficult challenges. And as she achieves her goals, and experiences her own growth, she builds an even stronger Growth Mindset.

No-one had to teach Turia Pitt about the Growth Mindset. She learnt that for herself by developing her Habits of Mind, stretching herself beyond her comfort zone, and experiencing her own growth. These are just a few examples of what I call Positive Mindset Movers, which are the focus of my new workshop.

Join me in this brand new workshop to discover how you can create Positive Mindset Movers (and eliminate negative Mindset Movers) in your classroom. Learn powerful and practical strategies to ensure that students not only understand that they are capable of growth but also how to achieve that growth!


James Anderson is a speaker, author and educator who is passionate about helping fellow educators develop students as better learners. James’ work combines Growth Mindset with Habits of Mind and Practice to create Learning Agility. He puts the growth back into Growth Mindset. And through creating and describing the Mindset Continuum, he provides the cornerstone for effective Growth Mindset interventions.

James is a Certified Speaking Professional and speaks regularly at conferences around the world. He has published several books including Succeeding with Habits of Mind, The Agile Learner, The Mindset Continuum and The Learning Landscape.

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