In this article and video from Khan Academy‘s founder, Salman Khan, he explains why he will never tell his 5-year-old son he is smart. Khan’s article expounds on the research of Carol Dweck and others on the “growth mindset” – or the habits of mind that believe that intelligence is not predetermined. Rather, with effort, perseverance, and resilience you CAN learn new things. Khan writes,
I am more convinced than ever that mindsets towards learning could matter more than anything else we teach…The research shows that just being exposed to the research itself (for example, knowing that the brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right) can begin to change a person’s mindset…when my son, or for that matter, anyone else asks me about learning, I only want them to know one thing. As long as they embrace struggle and mistakes, they can learn anything.
The trick to learning absolutely anything…is to think you can.