The stuff of genius

18 October, 2017 at 20:47 | Posted in Education & School | 3 Comments

Several years later I developed a broader theory of what separates the two general classes of learners—helpless versus mastery-oriented. I realized that these different types of students not only explain their failures differently, but they also hold different “theories” of intelligence. The helpless ones believe that intelligence is a fixed trait: you have only a certain amount, and that’s that. I call this a “fixed mind-set.” Mistakes crack their self-confidence because they attribute errors to a lack of ability, which they feel powerless to change. They avoid challenges because challenges make mistakes more likely and looking smart less so … Such children shun effort in the belief that having to work hard means they are dumb.

Your-Inner-GeniusThe mastery-oriented children, on the other hand, think intelligence is malleable and can be developed through education and hard work. They want to learn above all else. After all, if you believe that you can expand your intellectual skills, you want to do just that …

We validated these expectations in a study published in early 2007 … As we had predicted, the students with a growth mind-set felt that learning was a more important goal in school than getting good grades. In addition, they held hard work in high regard, believing that the more you labored at something, the better you would become at it. They understood that even geniuses have to work hard for their great accomplishments. Confronted by a setback such as a disappointing test grade, students with a growth mind-set said they would study harder or try a different strategy for mastering the material.

The students who held a fixed mind-set, however, were concerned about looking smart with less regard for learning. They had negative views of effort, believing that having to work hard at something was a sign of low ability …

EinstinePeople may well differ in intelligence, talent and ability. And yet research is converging on the conclusion that great accomplishment, and even what we call genius, is typically the result of years of passion and dedication and not something that flows naturally from a gift. Mozart, Edison, Curie, Darwin and Cézanne were not simply born with talent; they cultivated it through tremendous and sustained effort. Similarly, hard work and discipline contribute more to school achievement than IQ does.

Carol S. Dweck

Being diagnosed a ‘gifted child’ sure is a confidence boost. But it’s not always the blessing people so often assume. It can also blind you to the fact that even if you’re smart, there are other people who are also smart. People you can learn from and that makes brain neurons grow new connections. For some of us that insight — unfortunately — comes late in life.



  1. 🙂 🙂 🙂 ! “Poor little Albert, he will never become anything,he is to dumb!Maybee my uncle could get him a job in his plumber firm?” Albert Einstein´s mother. “In November 1954, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to a magazine in which he declared that, were he a young man again, he would not try to become a scientist: “I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.” The famous physicist was offered membership in the Chicago plumbers union, and Stanley Murray, a New York plumber, wrote to him: “Since my ambition has always been to be a scholar and yours seems to be a plumber, I suggest that as a team we would be tremendously successful. We can then be possessed by both knowledge and independence. I am ready to change the name of my firm to read: Einstein and Stanley Plumbing Co.”

  2. ps. Gode Lars, dum får ej ordning på min It. email eller något ,ej ! Men det går ännu att sända till LPS Syll! Ma godt, og beste hilsen! Jan

  3. Åsså, Öckerös Cornelis, Arne i Bora 🙂 !

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