Over the past 20 years, American educators have noticed a significant decline in students’ exam results and their desire to learn, so they have tried to find ways to reverse this trend. One popular theory stated that the best way to improve children’s skills was to “inflate” their self-esteem.

Observing that winners had confidence in themselves, they concluded that all that was needed was to have self-confidence, and competence would follow. But this approach backfired. Researchers found that relying solely on children’s ego has negative effects: indifference towards excellence, inability to overcome adversity, and aggression towards those who criticize them.

I place great value on praise, especially when it’s directed at children. In fact, I believe that people live up to their expectations. But I also believe that praise should be based on truth. We shouldn’t make up stories about others. Here’s the approach I use to encourage and lead people:

  1. Appreciate people.
  2. Praise effort.
  3. Reward performance.

I use this method with everyone. And I apply it to myself. When I work, I don’t reward myself until I’ve completed all my tasks. When I embark on a project, I do my best, and whatever the results, I have a clear conscience. I don’t lose sleep over it. And no matter my setbacks or the mistakes I’ve made, I don’t allow them to diminish my worth as a person. There’s a saying: “God uses people who fail because there aren’t any others.”

Like many people, you may find it difficult to stay positive and stop seeing yourself as a loser. But know this: It is possible to maintain a positive opinion of yourself, regardless of the circumstances or your background…

This text is an excerpt from the book “Overcoming Adversity: How to Use Your Mistakes as a Springboard to Success” written by John C. Maxwell.

We invite you to read the following article “Too Big to Cry, But Laughter Hurts Too Much.”

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