Motivation, praise on the effort

Based on researches and experiments children can achieve more, when you switch the regular praises, like: “you’re smart/talented” to “good work”, “you put in real effort” to motivate.
So this way we referr to the effort as a cause, which is controlled and managed by us regarding the activity.
Until in the first case we point to an existing trait, which attributes the success to an outer influence. Then at the second case we emphasis the work and effort, which keeps the window of opportunities more open.

An extra part from the experiments: The participants were asked after the tests, how much they enjoyed the tasks? By using the beneficial praises the their impressions were much more positive.
While the internal control receiving group enjoyed more the activities, the other group enjoyed it less or not at all.

Why we’re working like this?

If we look at it on psychological level , our life is affected by a lot of factors. We live in a complex world, we receive more stimulus, then ever before in our history. All of these are could affect us higher or lower level.
This makes it important, what to take as we have control over and what and how we feel because of those. We see opportunities to improve, or we’ll pointing to external circumstances as consequence of our failure.

Locus of Control (internal/external)

The base of the concept is a healthy separation of things, which are in or out of our control in our life situations.
Our goals is focus as much as we can on the things, where we have control. We should find the solutions for those problems and challenges.
The things falling under the external control, we should accept and maybe somewhat ignore, and hope, the internal control solutions will affect eventually this part too in some ways.
This thinking has importance, it comes up also in a person responsibility and liability.
However we have to deem in a realistic way on those boundaries. A desire of an excessive control to regaluate and manage everything is a wrong goal.
Famous and successful people also have a bunch of failures. Mostly these aren’t advertised that much, when we’re presented by the success stories. This is called as iceberg illusion. A lot of times the only difference is that they keep trying despite of the failures, a different way or on a different field.

One of these famous people is Elon Musk, check out the infographics about him: Elon Musk failure

Fixed vs. Growing Mindset


  • belief, which states, the skills are given and cannot be changed
  • person, and skill based praise
  • motivation, with the reason to look smart
  • the fact of failure leads to giving up


  • belief, which states, the skills are improvable
  • process, the praise of effortand strategy
  • the motivation is the learnig and improvement
  • the failure points to the right direction and stimulates to new challenges


However there are studies , which saying by reachign the teenager-adult age this strategy is not always so effective.
At these ages they probably fall back to fixed mindset more so, because of the strengthened ego. The ego plays vital role at these peoples, but they lack of a fully developed healthy level self-evaluation and confidence.

THe Conclusion

Everyone can have experience, when the result was missing even after hard work. We can have disappointed, missing the fruit of the hard work. At these times referring to the effort could backfire.

Such as like a lucky or easy success can hinder you, that the hard work worth it. Like if we have a student, who has pure luck, by learning 2 of 10 thesis, but get an A. Then if he looses the luck he falls into a downwards spiral.

I think in general there is no generic method, a silver bullet. There are methods, which can have a higher or lower success rate. Sometimes all can fail, at a rebellious or contradictory period.
So the sad news it’s always depends on the situation, which method kicks on a mental state to the right way and stimulate to improvement.

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