Can we change our smartness?


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Inspired by the book Succeed: How we can reach our goal, I created this one with all of the points from a portion of Chapter 2 and shared it here. It's worth to spread this out for what the author suggested about incremental theory.

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Can we change our smartness?

  1. 1. - I had the presentation about 3 things to enable your success before. And one of the things is Setting Goal.- This presentation is from chapter 2 of the book called Succeed: How we can reach our goals from Dr. HEIDI GRANT HALVORSON – Do you know where your goals come from?- 9 things successful people do differently- Why this is important for the today’s topic? - Your beliefs are important influences on the goals you adopt and that’s the start of your successes - Our beliefs determine whether we see a goal as within our reach or as a waste of time and energy - Our beliefs about our abilities influence what we think is possible – and what we might realistically be able to achieve- Interestingly, it’s not just whether or not you think you have ability that matters. In fact, what seems to be most important is whether or not you think you can get ability.- Do you think that intelligence (or personality or athletic prowess) is something that is fixed, or something that is malleable? 1
  2. 2. - 3 questions (from the book)- Focus on understanding which side you have stronger preference (no middle mark)- For each of the questions, pick a score.- Sum up 3 scores- Remember what the sum is 2
  3. 3. - Entity theorists: - If you believe that smartness is something you are more or less born with, - Something that is largely genetic, - or something that develops in childhood but then is pretty much constant through adulthoodThe entity theory of intelligence is, in a nutshell, the belief that a person has a certainamount of intelligence and that there isn’t anything anyone can do about it (in otherwords, intelligence is an unchanging entity). You are either smart or you’re not.- Incremental theorists: - On the other hand, if you believe that smartness is a quality that is developed over time through experience and learning, and that people can get more of it if they apply themselves, you are an incremental theorist. - People can get smarter at any point in their lives 3
  4. 4. - Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset, she elaborates on the many ways in which our beliefs about our own ability to grow and develop (or inability to do so) shape every aspect of our lives.- Across dozens of studies, Dweck and her students have shown that people who believe in their personal traits, like smartness, are fixed become overly concerned with receiving validation.- They want, whenever possible, to receive confirmation that they are smart (or, at the very least, that they are not stupid). They want to feel smart. They want to look smart.- If I only have a fixed amount of smartness, then it’s really important for me to have a lot of it, since I can’t actually get anymore.- And remember that being smart isn’t just a matter of pride or flattering your ego – you want to have high ability so that you can be a successful person and get the things in life you want.- So if you are an entity theorist when it comes to intelligence, your primary goal becomes proving yourself and to everyone else that you are quite smart, every chance you get.- Entity theorists make choices and set goals designed specifically to validate their intelligence. As a rule, they avoid goals that are too challenging, preferring the safer bets.- A person was smart when it came to particular subjects because his/her genes make her that way. 4
  5. 5. - Majority of Americans believe something that psychologists call the inverse effort rule – if you have to work hard at something, you aren’t good at it. Effort compensates for a lack of ability. 4
  6. 6. - Guitar story: Entity theorists shortchange themselves by concentrating too much on proving themselves at the expense of experiences that could potentially enrich their lives. 5
  7. 7. - When you believe that your ability – any ability – can be grown and developed over time, you focus not so much on proving you are smart, but on cultivating your smartness. Challenges aren’t threatening, they are opportunities to acquire new skills. Mistakes don’t mean you stupid – they are full of information that can help you to learn. 6
  8. 8. - Dweck asked junior high and college students to describe the goals they pursued in the classroom. Those who believed their intelligence was fixed agreed with statements like “Although I hate to admit it, I would rather do well in the class than learn a lot” and “If I knew I wasn’t going to do well at a task, I probably wouldn’t do it even if I might learn a lot from it.”- Those students who believed their intelligence could be increased preferred statements like “It’s much more important for me to learn things in my classes than it is to get the best grades.”- 10 to 12 year old boys and girls: - Those who believed their own personality and character couldn’t be change were more focused than their peers on being popular and avoiding rejection. On Valentine’s Day, they would make valentines for the most popular children, hoping to win their favor. Those more focused on avoiding rejection would make valentines only for the children who they know would give one in return. - On the other hand, the children who believed they could improve and grow as a person tended to choose goals that were more about developing relationships. Their valentines went to children they said they would like to know better, opening the door to friendship.- Choosing mate / lovers - Fixed personality persons would look others seeing them as “perfect” and making them feel good about themselves. Partners who they think 7
  9. 9. will feel “lucky to be with me”. And they’re quick to exit relationship that become too argumentative or critical. - The changed personality persons would look for partners who challenge them to develop and grow, and more likely to see the rough patch in the relationship as an opportunity to learn about their partner and themselves- The shyness story- Once believing that there is something about ourselves we cannot change, we pursue goals that focus exclusively on presenting ourselves to others in the best possible light. Ironically, these are goals that often actively prevent change – goals that make it impossible for us to learn and grow. 7
  10. 10. - Smart parents create home env. that are richer in learning opportunities. They talk more to their children. Often, they make more money and so are better able to provide educational opportunities and send their children to better school districts. Smart parents seem to give their children many, many more chances to develop their children.- Serves primarily poor, minority students, many of whom receive little guidance, support, or educational encouragement in the home. KIPP provides a rich educational environment as well as explicit instruction in the importance of discipline and hard work. These students go to school from 7:30am to 5pm, with additional time on Sat and over the summer. Teachers visit students’ homes, insist on respectful and courteous behavior at all times, and make themselves available via phone at any time of the day or night. Students put extra time into learning, and teachers provide the care and support that is tragically so often missing in the homes of poorer children- More than 80% of KIPP students perform at or above their grade level in both math and reading – as twice as many as a typical NY school.- KIPP graduating eight grade students outperform 74% of students nationwide on reading and math tests – a remarkable feat considering the fact that a KIPP student starts out performing at around the 28% level. 8
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