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Importance of perseverance

We need to persevere! • 2 min read

A study published for the Society for Research in Child Development found that praising a child’s effort...

"Great effort, you're a great learner!"

...encourages them to adopt an incremental motivational framework - the children associate success with hard work, they enjoy taking on challenges, they come up with strategies for improvement, and they believe that ability is not set in stone - they can develop it over time.

In contrast, praising a child’s inherent abilities...

"You're so talented!"

...encourages them to adopt a fixed-ability framework.



We know that true learning occurs when we slow down and activate our System 2 thinking (slow, effortful and deliberate thinking). We also know the importance of taking on challenges that are just beyond our current level to experience the greatest growth in our muscles.

Now, we’ve started to work on something new and we are full of good intentions. What happens when we come up against the first real obstacle?


Skills come from struggle

Think of a kid learning to tie their shoe laces or practicing a new skill in gymnastics. Unlike a lot of us fully grown humans, they don’t give up, they PERSEVERE until they see improvement.

We understand that the path to growth can often be difficult. The barriers are often the reason we give up. We try to break through them once, but fail, and then abandon the challenge.

To strengthen our muscles, to hone our skills, we must be prepared to struggle. The best sales people don't have the "gift of the gab", they have the perseverance to schedule that meeting after the umpteenth attempt - fun fact, it takes a sales person on average 18 calls to connect with a buyer...18!

So, what can help us persevere?

The mindset to persevere

There are many factors that help us persevere. These include having a purpose, having an interest in the task, and performing deliberate practice.

The key factor we want to highlight today is the impact of having a GROWTH MINDSET.

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck carried out decades of research to discover that in predicting success, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether we are talented or not, what matters most is our belief that we can succeed and prevail.

Those of us with a growth mindset can, with time, effort and practice, acquire and improve skills and abilities to accomplish things we previously thought impossible.

The language you use with both yourself and others plays a key role in promoting a growth mindset.

Statements like:

"It's really hard, don't worry if you can't understand it"


"Well at least you tried"

promote a fixed mindset.

Conversely, statements like:

"Ok, that didn't work, what can we do differently?"


"It's really hard, don't worry if you can't understand it YET"

promote a growth mindset.


Key takeaways

  1. New skills and capabilities come from struggle - we need to persevere with them to see real growth.

  2. A growth mindset helps you persevere through challenging tasks as it ensures you continually look for new ways to do what you couldn’t do before.

  3. Language plays a crucial role in helping both yourself and others foster a growth mindset.


Think big. act small

Begin by reviewing your self-talk and language to others during the day - does your language promote inherent talent over effort? Does it foster a growth mindset?


Content sources

  • Grit, Angela Duckworth

  • Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, Carol Dweck

  • Society for Research in Child Development, Parent praise to 1- to 3-year-olds predicts children's motivational frameworks 5 years later, Gunderson et al

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