Waiting for someone to say “Good Job”?

Plenty has been said and written about procrastination being rooted in a fear of failure.  Some think this is just part of human nature, an evolutionary adaptation to avoid exposure that would result in an untimely demise, if we lived in the hunter-gatherer era.

I think perhaps there’s more.  How often are you looking for or waiting for someone else to validate you before you would be comfortable doing work that puts you out there?  Could that have been an environmentally ingrained tendency?

Are we waiting for someone else to say good job, or afraid that the “good job” won’t come if you start?

“Good job!” doesn’t reassure children; ultimately, it makes them feel less secure. It may even create a vicious circle such that the more we slather on the praise, the more kids seem to need it, so we praise them some more. Sadly, some of these kids will grow into adults who continue to need someone else to pat them on the head and tell them whether what they did was OK” – Alfie Kohn

Many people likely will not identify with this.  For me, though, it rocked my world to thinkabout why I spend so much of my life, and drive so many decisions, based on what others will think…on whether I will get a “pat on the back.”

So….how do we motivate intrinsically (good) or extrinsically (bad)?


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