Why you should praise effort versus intelligence
“I remember often being praised for my intelligence rather than my efforts, and slowly but surely I developed an aversion to difficult challenges. Most surprisingly, this extended beyond academic and even athletic challenges to emotional challenges. This was my greatest learning disability – this tendency to see performance as a reflection of character and, if I could not accomplish something right away, to avoid that task or treat it with contempt.”
This is a quotation from Carol Dweck’s book Mindset. It’s from one of Dweck’s students at Columbia University in the United States. Dweck refers to this ‘intelligence praising’ mindset as a ‘Fixed mindset’, where intelligence is seen as static. She maintains the fixed mindset leads to a desire to look smart, to avoid challenges, to get defensive, to see effort as unworthy, to ignore feedback to improve and to feel threatened by the success of others.
In direct contrast to the Fixed mindset, Dweck refers to the ‘Growth mindset’. This mindset leads to a desire to learn. It promotes embracing challenges, and persistence in the face of difficulties. It views effort as the path to mastery. It encourages learning from feedback, and finding inspiration from the success of others.
Your Call to action/How to apply for this post: In the next seven days, find ways to encourage your Growth mindset. Consider how you could embrace a challenges, ask a trusted person for feedback or be inspired by the success of others.