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Praising the Journey: Encouraging Effort Over Achievement

In the expansive realm of child development, the manner in which children are praised 🏆 plays a pivotal role in shaping their perception of success, effort, and self-worth. While many believe that the mere act of praise can bolster a child’s self-esteem 😊, the type of commendation given matters significantly.

🌟Praise and Its Impact

Commending children solely for the completion of a task can be likened to a double-edged sword. On one side, it immediately rewards the child for a job well done 👍, reinforcing the notion that achievement brings positive recognition. On the flip side, however, it also poses a latent risk: such commendation can inadvertently steer children towards evading challenges 🚫. Why? Simply put, if the praise is solely on achievement, children might start seeking tasks they know they can complete with ease, thereby ensuring a continued stream of praise. Over time, they may grow wary of challenges, fearing that failure to complete them will result in a lack of praise or, worse, criticism 📉.

On the contrary, when children are recognized for the sheer effort they put into a task — irrespective of the final outcome — a different scenario unfolds. Here, the emphasis shifts from the end result to the journey and the hard work required 💪. Children internalize the idea that giving their best, showing determination, and persevering even in the face of adversity are in themselves commendable. This form of effort-based praise encourages them to embrace challenges, knowing that their hard work will be acknowledged, regardless of whether they succeed or fail 🌟.

🧠 The Growth Mindset Connection

The essence of effort-based praise resonates deeply with the psychological paradigm known as the “growth mindset,” a concept extensively researched and propagated by psychologist Carol Dweck. The growth mindset posits that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and a love for learning 📈. Contrasted with a “fixed mindset” — the belief that abilities are static and unchangeable — the growth mindset is all about potential and development 🌱.

By praising effort over mere achievement, parents, educators, and mentors instill the seeds of a growth mindset in children. This perspective empowers them to believe that through consistent effort and persistence, they can hone their skills and surmount challenges. It underscores the idea that setbacks are a natural part of the learning process and that genuine effort is more valuable than innate talent or instantaneous success ✨.


💭Final Thoughts

The art of praising is not just about dispensing compliments; it’s about nurturing a child’s intrinsic motivation, resilience, and belief in their own abilities. As guardians of the next generation’s development, it’s imperative to recognize the profound impact of effort-based praise and employ it judiciously to foster a growth-oriented mindset in young minds 🌟🌱.


Lionel ThomasLionel Thomas
Father, Gamer and Founder with a Passion for Health, AI, Environment and Gamification of Life.

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  • Carol Dweck: Praising Intelligence: Costs to Children’s Self-Esteem and Motivation

    Stanford University: Bing Nursery School
    In "Praising Intelligence: Costs to Children’s Self-Esteem and Motivation," Carol Dweck discusses the impact of praise on children's development. She contrasts the effects of praising intelligence (fixed mindset) with praising effort (growth mindset). Dweck's research shows that praising intelligence can lead children to avoid challenges, lose motivation in the face of difficulty, and even lie about their abilities. In contrast, praising effort encourages a growth mindset, where children embrace challenges, persist through difficulties, and believe intelligence and abilities can be developed. This mindset fosters resilience, a love for learning, and better academic performance. Dweck emphasizes the importance of how we praise children, impacting their motivation, self-esteem, and approach to learning and challenges.

  • The Effort Effect

    Stanford Magazine
    "The Effort Effect," an article by Marina Krakovsky, centers on Carol Dweck's research on mindsets and their impact on success and personal development. Dweck's work highlights the distinction between a fixed mindset, where ability is seen as innate and static, and a growth mindset, where ability is viewed as developable through effort and perseverance. Her studies reveal that embracing challenges, learning from failures, and persisting through difficulties are crucial for achieving potential. Dweck's findings, applicable in education, sports, and business, emphasize the power of believing in the ability to develop skills and intelligence, transforming how we approach challenges and setbacks.

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