Ideas that add up #10
Research has shown that children who are praised only for the end result are less motivated to try to reach more difficult goals because of fear of failure (where they won’t get praised). In contrast, children who are praised for their effort have no problem trying to achieve more difficult goals because they know they will be praised regardless of the result.
Clear Thinking issue #159 from Uncommon Knowledge
I can certainly think of people who seem to pay a price for having it easy early on – satisfied about being smarter, better-looking, more talented than others – only to find themselves, later in life, unable to compete with more motivated counterparts. Fear of failure plays a part, as do ingrained habits of inertia.
Worth bearing in mind though that children are far-from-passive participants in their own upbringing. There are bound to be some who are over-praised for results and go on to achieve difficult goals, while others absorb endless praise for effort but remain stubbornly achievement-averse.