Wednesday, September 23, 2015

There's no such thing as smart.

There's no such thing as smart.

You either have a fixed mindset or growth mindset.

You're either a novice or an expert.

You might have been born with a big brain. Congratulations. But that doesn't mean you're naturally more intelligent than the kid next to you in the library studying eight hours a day when you only study for one.

As a father, this concept of who is smart and who isn't has become very important to me. How do we go about praising our children without hindering them?

How does this apply to the workplace and in our personal relationships?

After listening to the latest episode of the Art of Charm with Dr. Carl Dweck, I've realized that I tend to give a lot of surface level praise: "You're really smart. You have the talent. He's a genius, She's a genius. Everyone on my team is a genius!"

I feel foolish. Because a teams success has nothing to do with how smart you are, how talented you are, in the end, it all comes down to handwork. There's simply no substitute for for a junk yard dog mentality. 

What's even more interesting is that it took me 26 years on earth to have this honest conversation with myself about how I communicate with other people. Especially young children. Then again, I've always been told that I'm "great" at communicating. So it wasn't something I really thought I needed to work on until I become a father. What's even funnier is: The things I'm learning about communicating with children are just as applicable to adults. 

So how should we praise?

According to dr. Carol Dweck we should focus on praising the process. Praising the hard work that went into the accomplishment. The good strategy they used, their perseverance, their improvement. She says that doing this will put people into a growth mindset and equip them with the values that they need to be successful.

Allow me to paraphrase: If you want someone to be independent, you need to praise them for the traits they display that allow them to stand on their own two feet. Praise the process, not the result.

Makes sense to me.

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