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Why Praising Kids For Their Abilities Is The Most Evil Act Ever

Why Praising Kids For Their Abilities Is The Most Evil Act Ever

Telling people that they are intelligent and praising their natural talents might be doing more harm than good. What was once thought to be cute, natural encouragement might actually be more detrimental towards how people act. Praising people and nurturing their intellect is important, but there are ways to do that it that make it evil and counterproductive.

Why You Should Never Say A Child Is Intelligent

Praising a kid for being naturally smart might sound like the right way to encourage the child, but in fact it is not really a productive way to talk with children in the first place. Carol Dweck — a psychologist with 35 years experience in child motivation — has done plenty research on the harm that praise can have on children. When praising them for their traits, children will stop to seek out challenges, instead only continuing what to do what they are ‘good’ at. The child will then be afraid of failure and lose the current appraisal they are receiving. Instead of learning, these kids will begin thinking that intelligence is just a naturally inherited trait, so if they only seek tasks to prove their intelligence instead of focusing on how to learn. This fixed mindset can lead students to ultimately fail after a while when they are introduced to something that actually challenges them. This is one of the ways that praise can backfire on a child’s learning process.

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How To Reward Children Effectively

Praising people cannot all be bad, right? When done incorrectly, nothing can be worse for the peoples — especially children’s motivation. There are, however, ways to successfully praise children and people for their efforts. That’s the key, it has to be for the efforts shown and not the outcome of whatever it is they did. When it comes to children and taking tests, say a person got a three out of ten on the exam. Instead of telling them to work harder or praise them for getting three right, it is actually best to point out that the work they did and the efforts they paid to get the right answer.

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If a child is motivated and focused on their work ethic they will not worry about making too many mistakes, because they will seek out the best way to successfully fix it. As Carol Dweck noted in her research, “process praise keeps students focused, not on something called ability that they may or may not have and that magically creates success or failure, but on processes they can all engage in to learn.”

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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