Giving credit to our youngsters can boost their confidence as much as criticism can bring them down. You’ve got to be very careful on how you talk to them and what you say, because they feel things more acutely.
Skill building is a confidence acquiring process. Once they earn it, they got it. And once the sparkle ignites it stays lit as long as motivation is.
Short and simple advice, encouragement, setting up a challenge, questioning if one’s ready to do the job, to induce, provoke or add fuel to, or comparing achievements are all strong verbal cues and signals that can boost our mind.
Praise is, probably, the most common verbal motivational cue. We all know how it works and how good it feels to receive compliments. It’s easy, simple and ready to use:
- Intelligence praise: “You must be smart at this!”
- Effort praise: “You must have worked really hard!”
Both work differently. Moreover, just one really works on the long run.
Intelligence praise is dangerous and must be avoided. When you praise someone for their intelligence you are motivating people to be smart, tricky, artful, to take a shortcut, to take the easier question, to look good and to sustain that artificial image of intelligence.
The name of the game, in this case, could be: “Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.”
Effort praise is a lot different in results. When put to test, an effort praised person often digs in and gets involved with the task at hands. This person will try solutions and test strategies. He will manifest interest, curiosity and willpower. The challenge itself will be a powerful stimuli to perform, practice, and achieve their goals.
Think about it this way: Intelligence praise feeds the fear of challenge, difficulty and novelty. Effort praise amplifies willpower, intensifies curiosity and magnifies problem-solving capabilities.
But praise should only be given when it is earned. Constant praise is counter productive. Also false, easy or empty praise has the opposite effect.
Motivational speaking is not equivalent to cheerful celebration of accomplishments. High motivation language usually does not ignites people. What does work in a motivational context is to materialize, on the ground level, affirming the struggle, the work you put in the hours, the sweat, blood and tears that leads to results.
So far we’ve seen that Inspiration is a burst of energy, an outward source that can influence us into action. Motivation, on the other hand, comes from within, working as a pushing force towards a goal.
The way we may contribute to keep or increase a students motivation relies on a choice of words. A wise choice of words, I would say. Effort praise, surgical encouragement, stinging and challenging, in the right amount, can propel the path to greatness.
What about you? Are you in the right track towards great achievements?
For more on the subject check “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle