I’ve recently got introduced to Carol Dweck’s book Mindset. In this book, Carol describes the difference between what she calls a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset”.

People with a fixed mindset consider their abilities a gift. A certain ability level they have been given, which cannot change. Consequently, they typically spend all their time trying to prove to the world, and themselves, that they do in fact have the level of ability expected of them. This in turn results in avoidance of risk, for fear of failure (which for fixed-mindset is proof they are not good enough).

People with a growth mindset believe that effort leads to growth. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn (not a test of one’s skill level). Yes, talent is important, but effort is the real driver of success.

Boris Gelfand, who challenged Anand last year for the world championship, is well known for his approach to chess matches based on hard work and deep preparation. Laszlo Polgar, the father of Susan and Judith, famously said: “Geniuses are made, not born”.

So when your child wins, praise the effort not the achievement.


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