There was a post recently on the Harvard Business Review blog “Praise Leads to Cheating?” that spoke about praising individuals based on attributes rather than on effort. For example, if I praise someone saying how talented or how smart they were, rather than how hard they may have tried or how much effort they may have put into doing something, it may put someone into what is called a “fixed mindset”, where the person may feel that the attributes they have cannot be changed. If however, you praise the effort that they have put into doing something they may develop a “growth mindset”, where the person may believe that by trying harder they can change the outcomes or improve upon it and they themselves can change.
I was reminded of this article when I came upon a blog post by Seth Godin, “Well Deserved”, where he said that we should congratulate someone when they have done a good job by saying “well deserved” rather than by saying “congratulations”. This way you remind them of the effort they put behind achieving what they have.
Another phrase that I have grown to dislike is “Good Luck”. My response to this is usually, “luck has nothing to do with this… it’s all up to me!” Why do we choose to make it sound as though our effort has nothing to do with the outcome of our endeavors. Instead we should say “May your hard work pay off!” or even “Do your best!”
I first heard of this in John Medina’s book, “Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five”. This is something we should be doing with our children so that they may grow up believing that they could be anything they want to be, and not limited by whatever attributes or talents they feel they have.
If you want to learn more about improving your own mindset, I suggest you take a read of Carol Dweck’s book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”; Carol Dweck is the person who coined the term “Mindset”.