Most people have a natural tendency to point out the faults in others before pointing out the good. For example, a child broke a dish because they weren’t paying attention, but then they took the time to clean up every last piece of glass before going outside to play.
We tell them, “Thank you for cleaning it all up, but that wouldn’t have happened had you been paying attention.” What did we just do? We praised them, which was good, but then immediately put them down.
I watched a very inspirational video on self confidence recently, which I would highly recommend to anyone. During the video the speaker, Dr. Ivan Joseph, said this “Ignore what people do wrong, but find all the things that they do right.”
It’s easy to say “do this, do that, fix this, fix that.” It’s not so easy to say, “Hey, what you did just now – that was great! Good job!” and leave it at that.
Dr. Joseph went on to say, “Catch them when they’re good. It sounds simple, but we forget about it.”
He was right!
While I watched the video, I asked myself how I handle those situations. I think I do a decent job at pointing out the good, but what if I’m wrong? So, I decided to analyze myself.
To my disappointment, I failed my own test. Although I’m quick at pointing out the good, it’s often followed with a “but.” Then, to try fix that “but” and end on a positive note, I add another “but.” The last “but” however, means very little because I already ruined it with the first one.
This is going to take a lot more practice than I thought.
It’s been proven that if we praise the good in people, those things that we want to reinforce, that they are more likely to repeat that behavior. On the flip side, if we constantly point out their mistakes not only does it ruin their self confidence, but their behavior rarely improves. In fact, it often gets worse.
This idea of “catching them when they’re good” can be applied to every person in our life; children, spouse, co-workers, students, family, friends, etc. It can even be applied to ourselves.
I wouldn’t have known how often I fail at this had I not taken the time to analyze myself during specific situations. Therefore, I suggest that you give it a try too. Maybe you’re great at pointing out the good in others and ignoring their mistakes, or maybe you’re like me and only think that you are.
We need to work on building up people’s self confidence. How do we do that? We “catch them when they’re good.” It works. Try it.