Photo montage of phenom athletes Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi, Serna Williams and Michelle Wie.
Photo montage of phenom athletes Michael Jordan, Lionel Messi, Serna Williams and Michelle Wie.

Making a Phenom – Nurture

Image Credit (Clockwise from top): Michael Jordan: Unknown author / Public domain; Lionel Messi: L.F.Salas / CC BY (; Serena Williams: Hanson K Joseph / CC BY-SA (; Michelle Wie: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA / CC BY-SA (
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About This Episode

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” Shakespeare still rings true today, especially for this episode of our Making a Phenom mini-series. Host Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice explore how great athletes become great, with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and world-renowned psychologist and author Angela Duckworth, PhD. 

To start, you’ll hear about Pete’s new book and educational program, Compete to Create. We investigate why self-discovery is a vital component of achieving your best. Find out why Pete has made the Seahawks a “relationship-based” organization and why he values optimism. Pete tells us about his first encounter with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and how he has had an exceptional mentality from the start. You’ll also hear how Pete deals with players who are great on the field but a pain off the field. 

Then, Angela Duckworth joins the conversation. Angela is the author of the best-selling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. What is grit? Is there a way to get grit? Angela explains the importance of having a “growth mindset.” Discover more about the role of talent in achieving greatness. Is it overrated? We explore some of the myths about grit, and you’ll hear about “extrinsic” and “intrinsic” motivation. 

Neil tells us some of the lessons he learned during his wrestling career that have helped him in his life. Angela also explains whether having grit can come at the expense of something else. Lastly, we ask, what happens to grit after you retire? All that, plus, Angela wraps up the show by sharing some advice on achieving goals. 

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

In This Episode

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