Decades of research have shown that a focus on effort rather than on intelligence or ability is more stimulating. In her book "Mindset – The New Psychology Of Success", Dr. Carol S. Dweck, professor of psychology, makes the comparison between students having a “growth mindset” or a “fixed mindset.”

Schoolchildren with a growth mindset understand that the brain can improve continuously and that intellectual achievement is the consequence of effort. They perform better than pupils with a “fixed-mindset” who believe that their abilities are whatever they received at birth and therefore learning and effort have no value.

Early labels given to children may remain for life—a good reason not to give them negative labels like “bad” or “stupid.” Of course, positive labels have the opposite effect. It’s nonetheless wise to use praises sparingly, only when sincere, and always about specific behaviors or achievements. To give your children general labels like “smart,” “talented,” “gifted” or “small genius” may not encourage them to accept further challenges. The research of Dr. Dweck demonstrates that it could even incite them to avoid any task which may put their prestigious status in question.



Image: The Sheep – Number 4 /