If you are praised for your effort then you are more likely to tackle difficult tasks that enable you to grow and excel.
Conversely, if you are praised as “smart” when you do well at something, you tend to avoid assignments where you fear you might not do well.
See Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s description of the related studies that prove you can actually stunt someone’s sense of self and ability to perform if you praise that person in the wrong way. In MediaBistro, Merryman recounts how she got Bronson’s attention to write this article with her.
This story created considerable stir. If you want to learn more read the book by the instigator of the research upon which the article was based, Mindset by Carol Dweck. It goes on sale February 28th. She also believes that mindset is a better predictor of performance than smarts.
Read an excerpt from her book here.
The findings are complementary to Bronson’s notion that, "If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.” For those of us who raised to achieve that notion has considerable impact.
From Good to Great author, Jim Collins says that, “One of the biggest obstacles to being great is to be good at something.” Similarly, Bronson wrote, “Failure’s hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.”