Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Studies Show You Shouldn’t Tell Your Kids They’re Smart

If you do, they’ll stop taking intellectual risks and otherwise underperform. Don’t praise them for their intelligence, praise them for their effort. The same advice probably applies to your colleagues.

Discussions - 5 Comments

This is a very interesting article. Read it, folks.

My favorite line in this story:

Carol Dweck is a flat-out genius."

I hope no one tells her.

This reminds me of the mother wolf in Kipling’s Jungle Book who is insulted when the snake, Ka, praises her cubs when they are present. I always thought that was a good lesson--but I admit that I find it difficult to adhere to it all the time.

Interesting. But on your comments about work colleagues, and I assume you mean perhaps that it refers to people who report to you, I can’t agree. In fact, even in parenting, I can’t agree. Praising for "effort" is nice but the ticket at all to drive people to succeed and reach. Praising for results (and rewarding same) seems to work the best for everyone concerned.

Well, Patrick, that’s a good correction. But my assumption is that you always praise for and to get results. The question is where the results come from: "Oh, this is so good because you’re so smart." or "This is so good because you really knocked yourself out." Never employ a non-results based praise for smarts. But there are occasions when effort by itself should be praised, for so many reasons. Here’s one: Good effort can often be spoiled by bad luck. (Consider the plight of a Republican stuck with challenging a Democratic incumbent in 2006.)

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