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effort Focus

Relating success to effort rather than innate ability; Viewing intelligence as malleable rather than fixed

You may not realize it, but how you view your own intelligence plays a big part in your success. There are two ways we can think about how smart we are.

First, there is a “growth mindset.” This is the belief that what looks like “intelligence” is really just a product of hard work, practice, and the right guidance. Students who adopt this mindset take a much better approach to their studies.


Other students who have a “fixed mindset” believe that intelligence is a stable trait, given at birth and basically unchanged throughout their life.

It can be easy to look at people with great accomplishments - athletes, musicians, business owners - and assume there is something great about them that you don’t have. Yet, if you read their stories, you will find that hard work is at the core of every success. After all, as a great man once said:

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
Albert Einstein

How can I improve my Effort Focus?

Strategies to Use

  • Find someone you respect or admire (a faculty member or advisor is a good place to start). Ask them to tell you the story of how they got to where they are today. Note the times in that story where they mention practice, effort, or guidance they received from others. Note how often they talk about how they were “just good” at something (those will be far fewer).


Resources at Creighton

  • Academic Success provides opportunities for students to thrive in Creighton’s rigorous academic environment through peer-to-peer learning, professional counsel, targeted programming, and campus partnerships. 

  • The Creighton EDGE® emphasizes an Education in the Jesuit tradition, a Development of God-given talents, Growth of intellectual, cultural, and global perspectives, and Engaged spirit and sense of purpose. The primary features include alumni networking, mentoring and shadowing, as well as internship opportunities. The EDGE® provides peer tutoring, academic coaching, academic counseling, and assistance with any issues that might impact a student’s academic success at Creighton.

Online Resources

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