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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 Albany State

  • Academic Support Services: Supplies Learning Centers that are located on both the East and West campuses. The primary purpose of the Centers is to promote student achievement, retention, and graduation by assisting students in enhancing their reading, writing, critical thinking, and lower and upper-level math skills in core and content area courses and helping them achieve college success and, ultimately, graduation.

  • Academic Advising: The Advising Center is here to make sure you achieve your goals through continuous academic advising.

  • Career Services: Available to all Albany State University students, from freshman to graduate students, as well as alumni. We provide you with tools and resources needed to help you succeed during the career development process. The key to a successful job search begins with early planning.

  • “Stay Ready Workshops”: Student Success at ASU provides an array of workshops throughout the semester on various topics critical to success in the classroom. 

  • “Individual Success Consultations”: (ISC) provide opportunities for students to develop critical college life skills in a nurturing, one-on-one environment. Students can meet regularly with student success staff to help them work through barriers and stay on track during the first year.

Online Resources

  • The Khan Academy offers a great series of lessons, ranging from the way your brain forms to how to adopt a growth mindset. (Note they are labeled as exercises for “high school students,” but the lessons hold no matter how old you are).

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