Poor performance doesn’t come from a lack of ability but from a lack of motivation. According to Carol S. Dweck, a renowned professor from Stanford University, it is not a good idea to tell your kids they are smart. Instead, you should congratulate them for their hard work. Decades of research have shown that such a method is key to a child’s success in school and in life.

People who believe that intelligence and talent are innate, see efforts and mistakes as threats to their ego and thereby become less confident and motivated. On the other hand, encouraging and praising their personal effort – teaching them about a “growth mind-set” but not a “fixed mind-set” – will help them to become high achievers.

Intelligence and talent – even what we call genius – are not fixed at birth, they are malleable capacities that can be developed through education and systematic practice. In any field (academic, arts, sports, etc.), great achievement is the result of passion, dedication and obsession, and not of any lucky inborn “gift”.


Picture: Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.