Tag Archives: Intelligence

You’re as smart as you work to be!

I love this!

I’m telling my students over and over this month that you’re not born smart, you work hard to become smarter: “Your brain is like a muscle.  The harder you work it out, the smarter you get!”

This has fascinating implications for praise.  If we tell our kids that they’re smart, they’re less likely to take risks, because they’re afraid they’ll look dumb if they make mistakes.  On the other hand, if we praise their hard work, they’re more likely to take risks, grow, succeed.  For anyone interested in this concept, New York Magazine has a great article from a few years back:  “How Not to Talk to Your Kids.”

Makes total sense to me.  It took me 26 years to decide to try something that I might be bad at, (and, it’s still painful when I don’t immediately succeed).  Granted, my parents did not just praise intelligence, they also praised hard work, but I’d be curious to know how much praise I’ve received in life based on intelligence alone.

Maybe effort-based praise does not solve everything, but it’s still a very motivating concept for kids.  Anyone can be the “smart one” if he/she works at it!  I guess it’s a good reminder for us adults too…

Time to do some brain push-ups!

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