Why the Wrong Kind of Praise Can Trigger a Fear of Failure

Why the Wrong Kind of Praise Could Heighten a Child's Fear of Failure

Spectacular! Brilliant! Super! Epic! In a 2011 survey, researchers found that 87% of adults agreed with the notion that "children need praise in order to feel good about themselves." It's very natural for us to want to reward our students' and children's efforts with praise. And when we see a child who seems a bit down on themselves, it can be especially tempting to try to lift their spirits and confidence by offering them kudos with language that might be a bit more extreme than normal. After…


self-compassion: does it help or hinder performance?

Self-Compassion: Does It Help or Hinder Performance?

You know when you get into a heated disagreement with a partner, child, or roommate, and accidentally let loose one of those generalizations that is the conversational equivalent of throwing gasoline on a fire? Like "Why do you always have to be late? It's not like all that extra time in front of a mirror is going to change anything." or "Why are you so lazy? Is it really that hard to pick up the wet towels off the floor?" Remember how that worked out for you? Yeah...we generally do a pretty…


Does Perfectionism Get a Bad Rap? The Right (and Wrong) Way to Be a Perfectionist.

Does Perfectionism Get a Bad Rap? The Right (and Wrong) Way to Be a Perfectionist.

Perfectionism has traditionally been seen as a bad thing. A character defect. A "fast track" to unhappiness, depression, and anxiety. The enemy of creativity, innovation, productivity, rainbows, bunny rabbits, grape soda, and all that is good in the world. So as an alternative, we are encouraged to ease up on those unreasonable standards, let the mistakes go, and accept that coloring outside the lines is not the end of the world. But anything that sniffs of lowering one's standards triggers a…


How "Moms" Can Help Us Perform More Courageously Under Pressure

Have you ever wanted desperately to gain the approval of someone? Whether in a concert, audition, or jury, to impress them with the warmth of your sound, purity of intonation, and profundity of musical insight? How'd it go? Often, the more intensely we need approval, the more likely it is we end up with disinterest or disapproval instead. After all, consider what happens when you walk into the room and lock eyes with members of your jury. You notice not the smiles, but the faces which have that…


pride yourself on your work ethic? why you may be more of a slacker than you think

Pride Yourself on Your Work Ethic? Why You Might Be More of a Slacker Than You Think.

You know those "1 weird trick" ads that offer to get you a flat belly or $1000 dollars in no time? They're awfully tempting to click on, aren't they? I think it's natural to want a silver bullet. A counter-intuitive practice strategy. A paradigm-busting tactic for managing nerves. Rhodium-wrapped strings with a NASA-developed synthetic multifilament core that will make your instrument sound like a Strad. But what if the real silver bullet is hiding in plain sight? So basic and obvious that we…