Were you rewarded lately? Did you receive a prize, a verbal praise, or a positive feedback?
One of our basic needs as human beings is to be noticed, is to feel that our effort is recognised. When I was a kid, my parents tied my reward to my grades. To be praised I had to get the full mark. To receive a gift I had to wait till the end of a school year and I had to get excellent grades in all subjects to be awarded.
It was tough for me to be up to the level of my two perfectionist parents. I spent years trying to better perform with one main aim; avoid being scolded or punished.
Having my own children, my partner adopted a brand new strategy. “Whatever you do, do it the best you can.” This was his only request from his two children in terms of performance. No speech on grades, on levels or on totals. During the school year he would praise them or surprise them with outings or gifts. When I questioned him the first time: “Why didn’t you wait till the end of the school year?” He explained that he rewarded the effort, the attitude and the behaviour. “Results don’t truly matter, what matters is that they are trying, trying their very best,” he insisted.
Yesterday I was observing my fifteen-years-old daughter while rehearsing for an event, she was doing it, she was giving her very best.
I wish I had the power to spread this philosophy around the globe. Doing our very best is our real award, it elevates our confidence, increases our self-esteem, it frees our minds from the myths of competing, surpassing others or crushing ourselves to get illusionary results called the full marks.