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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 your EPCC

  • Early Alert (EA) First-Year Experience (FYE) provides a safety net for students making the transition to college through an integrated system of communication, support, and intervention that will establish a solid foundation throughout their college experience.

  • The EPCC Counseling Department is in place to assist you in reaching your educational and professional goals. Counselors can assist you with career choice, personal issues, or any academic struggles you might encounter.

  • The Tutoring Center provides students with an array of resources, from in-person tutoring and study-guide resources to online tutoring. Additional resources include:

    • Writing Center - provide outstanding one-with-one writing assistance. Our writing assistance seeks to inspire academic, professional, and personal growth in all writers.​

    • Math Lab - strives to provide resources and services that stimulate curiosity and facilitate learning and research within the academic community.

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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