In the age-old discussion of what matters more–hard work vs. talent–a new research finding had shed some light on how language can affect outcomes. A recent study from Michigan State University has found that language that emphasizes hard work over innate ability can lead to more effective, efficient performance in many aspects of life.
The researchers found that giving people messages about hard work led to more effective learning and a greater willingness to strive. Meanwhile, messages that praised their innate abilities (like “you’re a natural”) tended to impede learning.
Hans Schroder, a doctoral student who worked on the study, says, “…giving people messages that encourage learning and motivation may promote more efficient performance… in contrast, telling people that intelligence is genetically fixed may inadvertently hamper learning.”