The Praise Paradox

The Praise Paradox

  • Defining Praise requires two different components: What is being praised and the amount of praise.
  • Talent and abilities can be praised, and the degree of praise is based on the language used.
  • Inflated or exaggerated praise can backfire, lowering a young person’s motivation or self-worth when there are eventual setbacks.
  • It fosters a fixed mindset by adding pressure on the person(who is praised) to behave accordingly.

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The Praise Paradox: when well-​intended words backfire - Ness Labs

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Effective praise can be given using these three methods:

  1. Defining your intention and providing praise. This involves being mindful of the consequences of your words.
  2. Instead of plain flattery, try to encourage them to move forward and take up further challenges. This also encourages them to keep learning.
  3. Focus the praise on their effort, not their ability. If the trait is not fixed, the person cannot be vain about it. By praising efforts, we are motivating them to push further and get out of their comfort zone.

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