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Smart Kids or Successful Kids

February 13, 2008

Are smart kids successful kids?  No. Not always.

If you want your kids to be more successful do you need to help them be smarter?  No. Research suggests that whether your kids are smart or not, you should not focus on how smart they are but on the effort they put into their work.  If you overemphasis their intellect and it’s ability to make them successful, they are more likely to be vulnerable to failure, adverse to challenge and lose interest in learning.

Certainly some positive feedback on their “smarts” is okay.  But, the bulk of the feedback they receive should be around the great effort they put in and how their persistence helped them.  Getting them excited about learning new things in a “play” sort of way is amazingly powerful.

This is great information for those of you who are parents but there’s more to this.  You may already be thinking, “Hey, this sounds like it could apply to me too!”  Yes, adults, too, often put too much emphasis on IQ and intellect.  They don’t value the multiple types of intelligence there are and they don’t value the persistence of strategy and action that help to create success.  If you want to reinforce one of your own behaviours, focus on when you’ve stuck to your plan and it’s paid off.

Valuable lessons, whether in school or out of school.

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