-Praise effort instead of intelligence
-The difference between normal people and top performers is effort
-IQ is not a factor to have success in life
… Those are some of the things I learned from Dr. Medina on his book “Brain rules for baby”. One of my favourite books ever! and a must read for parents.
Since then, I continued reading about talent, effort and mindset, and I started to realise some of my beliefs and behaviours in my life.
When I was a kid, I loved school! I had good grades and I was the perfect student in my family. “Karen is so intelligent“, “she’s so smart“, “we never have problems with her“, etc, etc…
I was good at math, chemistry, languages, name it… I could have fantastic grades almost effortless. I was smart, you know!?
I remember when I had a bad grade in “handicrafts”, I was a teenager and I was devastated! My conclusion was: “I’m not good with handicrafts“, “that is not my talent“, “I’m not a creative person“, and for the rest of my life I have avoided artistic subjects because of that.
When I came to the university, I confronted myself with smarter people and new subjects. More frustrations. Along my career, I had to repeat some subjects and I was so ashamed that I never talked about it, and some of my relatives (till now) don’t even know.
I grew up with the idea that my intelligence was a kind of gift (or superpower).
And now, when I look back and evaluate the failures in the different areas of my life: work, study, relationships (love/friends/family), I realise that most of them were product of my arrogance and the stupid belief of “superiority”… because I was smart!
I think about those projects I didn’t finish -or even never started- because of my lack of effort. “If I have the talent, it should be effortless, isn’t?“, “If I don’t have the talent, why to try hard?“, “A natural talent doesn’t ask for help“, “If I fail, they will think I’m stupid“… Omg, What an ego protection!
And I confess: I’m still a “work in progress” on that.
So please, don’t cover your kids with compliments about how smart or intelligent they are. Praise their effort. Value their achievements when they have worked hard, and motivate them to try again -and try better- when they fail or cannot make it.
On the other way around, don’t tell your kids they are not-so-smart. Don’t compare them with their brothers/sisters/friends. Don’t limit their future based on their grades.
Every person has her own potential…
Creativity and leadership might come from anywhere…
PS: share this with any parent. Our kids deserve it!
A mis padres y familia: gracias por sus cumplidos a lo largo de estos años, sé que lo hicieron con amor 🙂