Category Archives: talent vs skill

A for effort. Can a growth mindset itself be developed?

Is teaching a growth mindset possible? (In other words, does a person think their intelligence/talents are fixed traits or that they can be developed?)

“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.” — Carol Dweck

Dweck thinks so. 10 minute TED talk below complete with brain scans.
(Or play at 1.25 or 1.5 speed! 🙂

In the face of difficulty: “I love a challenge”
“You know, I was hoping this would be informative”

The math video game she mentions I guess is this:
http://www.mindsetworks.com/webnav/pricing.aspx

Another way of looking at it is… maybe we are all born with a growth mindset, but many of our experiences can pull it out of us. So the idea should be to not so much teach it, as to not suck it out of people in the first place? Flip side of the same idea I guess.

So that’s why I think Sudbury Schools are approaching things in a reasonable way. Whereas I think most traditional schools are very risky in that it is quite likely that they will suck the growth mindset out. Some kids might make it through intact, but it’s a serious risk.

SEE ALSO:
Hal Sadofsky on which is the riskier approach — Sudbury or traditional school

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Filed under growth mindset, mentoring / apprenticeship, nature vs nurture, person: Carol Dweck, raising kids / parenting, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, talent vs skill, unconditional love, underestimating kids, video games

Patty McCord at Netflix — The Queen of the good good-byes and the future of work

This is an amazing story about the culture of Netflix and it’s clearly the future of (creative) work for better or worse. No set hours, unlimited time-off, etc. But “ruthless” (or simply more “real”/”honest”) in hiring/firing. Depends on your perspective! “A for effort” doesn’t count.
http://podcatch.com/pages/2233.html (19 minute podcast from NPR’s Planet Money)

NETFLIX: “We’re a _team_, not a family” (Slide 23 of 124)

This reminds me of Byron Katie in “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” (BTW, I really recommend the audio cds.. really great!) where in Chapter 6 (pages 84-85) she talks about a boss firing an assistant because she wasn’t doing a good job even though they had been working together for many many years.

“People usually fire themselves when they realize what’s going on.”

IOW, it’s best to be clear and truthful about what is happening with the company — a person’s performance or the lack of a need for them (because of a change in technology or because the company has pivoted in some way)

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Filed under contrarian, evidence-based, future, talent vs skill, technology, uberification, work, work-life balance

Presence instead of praise

We’ve all heard a million times that things like
– “good job!”
– awards for everything… just for showing up basically
– graduation ceremonies for graduating from pre-school and elementary school
– helicopter parenting generally
are not constructive and can actually lead to narcissism. Or at least looking for more external praise and direction.

I had not heard it framed this way, which I liked:

“So, this year, I am vowing that I won’t let praise replace presence. Whether we are talking about her soccer game or the homemade music box she hopes to create, I want to tune into her stories, engaging her in conversations about the things that are important to her. Instead of responding with “That’s great!” I can ask her how she decided to create a homemade music box, and the materials she thinks are needed. When I remember to ask these questions, she always leans towards me, hungry to open up and share what’s inside her mind.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2015/01/16/my-parenting-resolution-less-praise-more-presence/?wpisrc=nl_parent&wpmm=1

seems like this wording “presence vs praise” came from this book
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/23/stephen-grosz-examined-life/

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Filed under exceptionalism, praise, talent vs skill

The problem of innate talent and competitive youth sports as a ticket

INNATE TALENTS: REALITY OR MYTH?
http://cogprints.org/656/1/innate.htm

“[O]ver the years we’ve run into parents who really push their kids. They love their kids but they want to ensure that their kids are going to be successful. And they somehow get bought into, “sports is a ticket.” There’re studies that have shown that it’s very hard to try to predict athletic talent. There’s just a study done in Europe like with 4- or 5,000 tennis players and judo players at the junior level. And there wasn’t a very good correlation between being a junior-ranked player and being a senior-ranked player.”
– Only a Game on NPR
Dr. Dan Gould, the Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, spoke with Bill Littlefield about the implications of recruiting kids.
https://onlyagame.wbur.org/2015/02/28/lebron-james-son-recruit-gould

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Filed under exceptionalism, sports, sports and outdoors, talent vs skill

“Gene, an accomplished guitar player, sent me a long email on the subject of motivation, with some ideas I’ve never seen before. Condensed excerpt:

To master any truly difficult skill it’s not enough to just want it; you have to be obsessed. If you have to force yourself to pick it up you’re screwed; if you have to force yourself to put it down you know you’re on the right track.

You told me that the only thing you’ve ever had to force yourself to stop was video games. Ask yourself: why exactly are video games so addictive? Of course it’s because of the constant reward system. Every thirty seconds you get a reward of some kind. The next question is: how can I duplicate this experience in other areas?

When I was learning to play, I always broke any challenge down into it’s smallest possible chunks. A fast lick might seem impossible taken as a whole, but how difficult is it to play the first three notes? If I play those three notes over and over for ten minutes, always keeping it down to a tempo at which I can play it correctly at all times, will I be able to work them up to performance tempo in those ten minutes? Assuming you haven’t chosen something way beyond your level, the answer is probably yes!

By doing it this way, you’re creating a lot of very small, quick successes for yourself. If you set yourself a goal to bring those first three notes up to performance tempo and you succeed in just a few minutes, the flush of success releases endorphins in the brain. If you continue to duplicate that experience every few minutes you get addicted to practicing.

Talent is an intuitive grasp of rapid learning. Fortunately you don’t really need that intuitive understanding… that’s what a teacher is for! Unfortunately most teachers haven’t analyzed their own formative years sufficiently to understand the ingredients of their own success as players. I have consistently found that students who listen to me and practice as I described above will progress ten times faster than anyone else.

It’s also true that these are the students who become obsessed. I’ve believed for years that they listened to me and practiced in this way because they were obsessed, but since I’ve come to believe that I had cause and effect confused. They become obsessed because they practice this way!”

http://ranprieur.com/, Sept 1, 2014

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Filed under addiction, mentoring / apprenticeship, talent vs skill, teaching, video games