Workout of the Day

Stop Telling Your Kids How Smart They Are


Carol Dweck, researcher and professor of Psychology at Stanford University, thinks you should probably stop telling your kids (or anyone else, for that matter) how smart and naturally athletic they are, and she has the research to back it up, too.

Author of the influential book “Mindset,” Dweck has observed and detailed a powerful distinction in how we behave and how we see and think about the world:

On the one hand is a fixed mindset -- individuals see traits as fixed, view themselves as subjects of natural ability, and shape their behavior around avoiding risk, challenge, and failure;

And on the other hand is a growth mindset, in which traits are seen as malleable, challenges are seen as opportunities, and the focus is on how effort can produce change, not on what traits are naturally strong or not.

In her research, Dweck found that simply commenting on how naturally smart someone is (“wow, great job on that test -- you’re really smart in math”) pushed them into a fixed mindset, which led to lower performance, poorer adaptability, less effort, and more aversion to risk. On the other hand, praising or highlighting an individual’s efforts (“great job on that test -- I bet you worked really hard to learn that math”) and taking the spotlight away from any innate abilities pushed them towards a growth mindset, which led to better performance, more effort, and more willingness to take risks and face challenges. Children can be particularly vulnerable to having their mindset shifted, but the effect applies to everyone.

It feels good to be told how great you are, and it feels good to compliment those whom you love and care for. But shaping our values and feedback systems around alleged natural talents is a fast track to a fixed mindset and a fragile view of self.

This stands as the cornerstone of our practice at No Boundaries. We are and always will be infinitely more interested in what you are capable of changing than what you were born with, and we hope you are, too.

- PS


  • “Zimmerman”

  • 25min AMRAP

    • 11 C2B pull-ups

    • 2 deadlifts (315/205)

    • 10 HSPU