A fixed mindset is detrimental to the ability of a person to learn, and preform, to the best of their ability. When a child is praised, being told that they’re “So smart” rather than praised for all of their hard work, a barrier is created between them and future success.
Think about it– it makes sense. If you preformed a task, say an easy one, well and someone remarked that it was due to how smart you were, the next time you attempted that task, and failed, you would feel as if you weren’t actually smart. However, if praised as a hard worker, the next time you preform a task and don’t succeed, you don’t automatically assume you lack intelligence, but perhaps need to work harder in the future.
This same rule applies to challenging yourself. Children praised as intelligent are less likely to step outside of their comfort zone, as they have this reputation as a smart kid, and feel like if they try something harder than what they’re used to, they will be seen as less intelligent than people assumed they were previously. However, a “hard worker” won’t see failure as an issue, they have no reputation of genius to uphold, just the knowledge that hard work achieves success.
When considering how small comments can shape a child’s academic and professional growth, it may be a little hard to see the correlation between types of praise and future success, but small things add up, and self-esteem is built early. So, children must be receiving the reinforcement that they can achieve what they need through hard work, not a false, fixed intelligence. There is always room to growth in parts of life, and intelligence is one of them.