“Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.” In follow-up interviews, Dweck discovered that those who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort.
Oh, this sounds sooooooooo familiar. I was labeled at an early age, primarily because I was an early reader. I don't think I *tried* very hard on anything throughout my schooling until I got to college, and only when absolutely necessary there. Yes, I was in the advanced classes, but I aimed for mediocrity. If something I attempted didn't come easily, I was convinced that I couldn't do it. I had, and still do in many ways, an extremely low work ethic.
Damn. It really makes me rethink a lot of things.