children working on a puzzle

From Fast Company and Vivian Giang — Vivian Giang discusses why determination is so important to success. She reports studies that show that students who were praised for their hard work were more likely to tackle harder problems.  She writes:

First, participants were given a series of puzzles to test their IQ. After they finished their test, they were told their score and praised in different ways. One group was praised for their intelligence and was told: “You got x number correct. That’s a really good score. You must be very smart at this.” Another group was praised for their effort and was told: “You must have worked really hard.”

The students were then given a choice as to what kind of test they would take next. They could either take one that’s harder than the first, or one that’s just as easy. A majority of the children who were praised for their intelligence chose to take the easier test, whereas 90% of those praised for their effort chose to tackle the harder puzzles.

Afterward, the researchers gave the students even harder tasks. They found the “smart kids” no longer enjoyed what they were doing and weren’t interested in practicing the problem sets. However, the children with grit believed hard work was all they needed and enjoyed the difficult puzzles, even if they couldn’t always solve them.

The students who had been praised for their intelligence believed their skills were innate—something they either have, or don’t have. Students who had been praised for effort believed that intelligence was something they had control over and could enhance through hard work, writes Dweck in the journal American Educator….”

Read the full story at Why Determination Matters More Than Smarts In Getting Ahead

Photo by George Eastman House