Recently a great study came out where they looked at the most important keys for raising successful children. They looked at parents who constantly reinforced success and thought that certainly this must be the key to confident, self-assured and successful kids. These parents praised their kids constantly, telling them that they were winners. They found something in every performance that they did well. These parents used terms like: you’re the best, you’re a winner, you’re the smartest, etc.
The other group never talked about success, winning, achievement, or even excellence. Instead, they only praised their kids on effort. Whenever they saw their kids putting effort into something, they commented on how great it was. They used terms like: I’m really proud of how hard you worked, great effort – way to work hard, doesn’t it feel great to put that much effort into something.
At the end of the study, the kids who were praised only on effort, rather than achievement, were the highest performers. Even more important they had the highest self-esteem, the most self-confidence, and the greatest sense that they could prevail even in tough situations.
When I was in the fire service, running the recruit training academy, I used to share with our new hires that we were in a real dilemma. We had hired them for the next 20 years and yet we didn’t know what the job would look like in 20 years. Therefore, we were hiring them for their effort. If they put the right effort forth, every day of their career, they would get the knowledge and skill necessary to succeed.
If you want to raise successful kids, with a “can do” mindset, you may just want to catch them putting forth a winning effort and then praise them for it. And keep in mind, this may work wonders in your teams at work as well- helping to make them Sustainable High Performers.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer