Among the several previous submissions, the submission with the most comments seems to come from a follow-up piece. But the print-formatted story with that submission doesn't seem to load properly, and a lot of the comments look like they came from people who didn't read the story (as I cannot read that story just now).
Carol Dweck is one of the main researchers on attributional style and what that does to motivation.
Fixed mindset - talents, abilities and intelligence are fixed, endowed
Growth mindset - talents, abilities and intelligence are learned and can be developed
These mindsets are learned, and have fundamentally different reactions to challenges.
The two-mindsets model is a simplification for the purposes of explanation.
The growth mindset embraces failure as a necessary part of learning. In fact failure is a indicator of an area for potential growth, if the opportunity is taken to overcome that failure.
The fixed mindset avoids and fears failure; it is taken as evidence of a hard limit of your endowed talent.
The growth mindset sees effort as necessary to mastery. Almost any level of mastery may be attainable with the right regimen of practice. Obstacles are a normal part of mastery and must be overcome as a matter of course in order to grow. Criticism is not taken personally, but used to indicate areas for improvement and growth.
The fixed mindset sees effort as producing only small effects compared to their fixed ability. May be more prone to give up in the face of obstacles since it is thought that there is no new mastery to be gained. Criticism is more likely to be taken personally, as the individual identifies with the perceived limits of their ability and thinks that improvement is impossible beyond a certain point.
The growth mindset is not threatened by others’ abilities. Others’ examples may serve to inspire.
The fixed mindset is more likely to be jealous of others’ abilities since they are perceived to be highly desirable gifts and the result of luck and circumstance.
Praise children by emphasizing their work and persistence.
Do not use labels like “smart” or “gifted” that would reinforce a mindset of fixed abilities.
Growth oriented mindset is more likely to be understanding and ready to learn from experience.
Fixed mindset sees problems as a result of unchangeable personal attributes and are pessimistic about change. More likely to have unrealistic expectations, like not having to work at a relationship that is “meant to be”.
Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and Wilma Rudolph are given as examples of overcoming early setbacks with a growth mindset.
Last chapter is a “workshop” of situations and questions to help you develop a growth mindset.
The truth is that actually putting in the time and effort when the time came proved to be far more difficult than I had believed all along. It took something that I wanted desperately to be good at, but couldn't just pick up in a weekend to make me change my views. Programming was/is it for me. There's more to learn than I could ever hope to understand and it has been a humbling experience to say the least.
Everyone is an incomplete person in some way. I think my flaws are characteristics inherent in my being that would have been that way had people told me I was smart or not. I knew pretty early on that things came quickly to me; the validation may have inflated my ego, but I don't know that it outright caused me to run from challenges along the way. I did that on my own. Sigh.
The important thing is that you internalized the lesson at some point in your life. As have I. Many never do (just look at the entitled people who complain about worsening conditions on reddit).
Since I can remember I am "Very Smart", I was told that by my parents, teachers, and lots of other adults.
In the first years of high school, I would get the best grades on math without even studying, it was easy to me. But when the last years came, I needed to put more effort on study, I didn't liked it, and also didn't get the results I wanted.
Now I'm getting back to university, and it is really difficult to me to put all the effort I need to study, it's like I don't want to.
This article resonated a lot with me, and helped me understand a posible cause of what happens to me. Also, reading about how brain "exercise" helps intelligence, motivated me to get to study a lot more now :)
 I think I really am smart (not that it makes me better than anyone though) but I don't know how much, or how to measure that, if that's really and objectively possible.
It is much more important that parents make a conscious effort to see the children, try to gauge their emotions, and reflect that in words.
In the book "Your Competent Child" (I can highly recommend that to all parents), Jesper Juul gives an example. A child manages to climb up the back side of a slide, and then calls "look, ma!". Now many parents have the urge to say "Wow, you did that really well", and thus give a reward for the child's hard work.
But climbing up was fun (even if it was also hard work), and by giving a reward we teach the child to crave the reward, not the fun. Instead, one could just say "Yes, I'm looking", or trying to understand the child better, say "Yes, I'm looking. Did you have fun climbing up? And now maybe you're just a tiny bit scared sliding down?".
By simply observing the children, and making it clear that we do, we give value to children themselves, not their intelligence, and not their effort either. IMHO that's a much higher goal.
If at some point their motivation fails, they still feel they have value.
Once again, for anybody who wants to take children seriously, I highly recommend to read Jesper Juul's books. They were a real eye-opener to me.
Your point notwithstanding, imagining someone actually saying this made me wince with embarrassment. How idiotically contrived.
If it was only a bit funnier, it would be a line for a skit about hippie parents on a sketch comedy show.
EDIT: So that I have said something in this thread other than short and flippant remarks:
The real problem I have with “And now maybe you're just a tiny bit scared sliding down?” or any other such nonsense, if we put aside the fact that it's so embarrassing I just winced myself in two—the main problem is that it is totally bewildering to the target audience. I know this, because when I was of such an age, I was saddled with caretakers for a time who thought in the same way as this poor fellow here. My four-year-old self is thinking, “Fuck you, I just fuckin climbed up this slide and you can’t stop me, I am fucking fearless—but a little hurt that you didn't think it was as cool as I did.” This is literally my four-year-old interior dialogue. I find it hard to imagine that I'm the only one.
In my (albeit limited and anecdotal experience), the little ones do not respond well to such fawning and whipperdogged pop-psychology-inspired beginner's folly emotional claptrap---it either insults them, confuses them, or dismays them. And it certainly does not instill confidence in the creature that you believe they can slide down successfully—and it is indeed reassurance that they were after, make no mistake.
Somehow I get the impression that you are deliberately trying to interpret everything in the poorest possible light, without any sense of context. Please stop that.
The children learn from example, not from your words. Do YOU have fun doing your work? Do YOU enjoy mowing the lawn? Do YOU enjoy riding the bicycle? Then your child will too.
Admittedly I haven't read Jull, but I have heard a few quotes from his books before and none of them made sense to me either.
Children who don't have responsive parents will tend to 'misbehave' until the parents become more responsive. I put 'misbehave' in quotes because although the form of the behaviour is bad, children are entitled to have responsive parents, and they know no other means of obtaining them
I think I know what you mean about words: children learn their moral ideas from parental behavior rather than from what their parents explicitly tell them to do.
But note that parental behavior includes words. So the principle is consistent with giving verbal descriptions of what a child is doing as he is doing it, or just after, or asking a question about it if you have one.
(I mean a real question, which is only rarely about feelings. I add this because all too many adult-child interactions are peppered with fake questions like 'Are you a good boy?' etc)
Verbal descriptions are helpful especially when, as we are discussing, something cool has happened, since there the child is operating at the edge of his ability and understanding, which is usually inexplicit in his mind. A verbal understanding helps to consolidate the achievement and also to introduce creative variations
> The children learn from example, not from your words. Do YOU have fun doing your work? Do YOU enjoy mowing the lawn? Do YOU enjoy riding the bicycle? Then your child will too.
Correct. And do you value them for just being them, instead of their achievements and their effort? if yes, they will too.
> Admittedly I haven't read Jull, but I have heard a few quotes from his books before and none of them made sense to me either.
They didn't make sense to me either, until I actually read the book. It's too big a shift from "standard" educational approaches to be summarized in a few quotes.
the only real sin [...] the only true failure
In the end, it has to be left to the individual to determine whether they are making the most of what they have, so for me, it is a guiding principle to use in self-reflection, rather than a score card to be judged by.
Also neat: Failure Games
It even goes that far by claiming "Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it."
Human beings are complicated. Talk about kids; it complicates the situation further. I am a father and I believe in praising with the right attitude. That attitude is "Yes you are good but you are still like many others. Keep going and you are doing a great job". I will go as far as to say that if your kids are under performing even though they are smart, it has nothing to do with your praising but more to do with overall values that are being taught to them by the parents. So go ahead, praise away but teach them the right values by example.
It's like you've hiked 1/10 of the way up a mountain and there's someone insistently blocking your view of the peak and saying "oh my god look at how far you've come you are awesome!"
Instead of saying "You're so smart!" or "You're so hard working!" - which is attaching a label to the kid, they should focus inside an tell how the action of the kid made them feel: "You made me feel very happy because you completed your work."
That doesn't say anything about how the kid is, instead it says how the parent feels, thus, allowing the kid to feel more free and understand why he is being appreciated. With regard to giving praise, I think NVC is quite insightful.
I think any system that twists words so ridiculously to make a point is highly suspect.
It is ridiculous to claim that praising someone can be accurately described as "violent speech". It holds as much hyperbole as saying you were "raped" at the grocery store because Apples were $2 each.
Similarly, on page 4 "Of the kids praised for their intelligence, 40 percent lie, inflating their scores. Of the kids praised for effort, few lie." Again, it's doesn't have a universal negative effect.
But it appears also that kids who were taught cursive express more complex ideas in their writing later on - http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201303/what...