Carol Dweck—professor of psychology at Stanford University—wrote a great book called Mindset. It is centered around a simple yet very powerful idea: how people perceive their own intelligence and abilities greatly influences their ability to learn and grow.
In a fixed mindset, people believe that intelligence and abilities are innate. Thus they don't feel compelled to invest in learning and growing since they believe it won't have an effect. But with a growth mindset, people believe that intelligence and abilities can be developed over time through dedicated effort. In both cases, people are right. If you believe you can't grow and improve, then you never will. If you believe you can and put your mind to it, you will.
This can be applied directly to students. Parents, teachers, and other role models must reinforce a growth mindset. Always praise students for taking on new challenges, putting effort into the learning, and making relative improvements compared to their past performance (not so absolute standard). It is these meta-learning skills (knowing the process for learning and enthusiastically embracing it) that will best serve students in the long-term.