Creative Destruction

February 24, 2007

Don’t Tell Your Kids They’re Smart

Filed under: Education,Personal Ramblings — Robert @ 11:23 pm

Instead, praise them for working hard or trying or being persistent.

Interesting stuff.

I can certainly testify that a child – at least, this child – does indeed respond to praise of intellect with a slackening of effort. “If I’m such a genius, things won’t be hard” – and then, of course, when they are hard, the result is frustration and avoidance. I’d be 1000% further advanced in my goals in life if I was 10% dumber and 100% more hard-working.


  1. Interesting indeed. This is the reverse (kind of) of what we sometimes see in inner-city schools where the kids have no incentive to achieve. They assume they cannot, so they do not try.

    It is also ironic in that by being unwilling to fail these kids might actually be setting themselves up to fail later on in life.

    Comment by TS — February 25, 2007 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  2. They may also become narcissistic. Did you see that study?

    Comment by Rachel — February 28, 2007 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  3. It’s tough being smart, Robert. You get into the habit of expecting others to be as smart as you are, and when it turns out that some of them are complete morons, you kinda get a little disappointed because you expected more out of them. But who are they to live up to your expectations, anyway.

    Comment by greywhitie — July 6, 2007 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

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