Spar­tan Strokes

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

NaMo’s vic­tory speech from Varanasi be­gan with a para­dox: “They gagged me,” he said. “Yet you have voted to power some­one who could not give you even 60 min­utes!” What might have crip­pled lesser politi­cians thus be­came a thing to cel­e­brate. Sim­i­larly, upon be­ing chided for neech ra­jniti (low pol­i­tics), he turned the ta­bles by loudly pro­claim­ing his low caste ori­gins.

Wit­ness also the alacrity with which he turned the chai­walla jibe into a brand­ing cam­paign called chai pe charcha! Now is this what sep­a­rates the wimp from the win­ner? Psy­chol­o­gists say for such people crit­i­cism may ac­tu­ally be a stronger mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor than praise. It may serve to heat up the milk­sop into a more ma­cho avatar. This also seems to in­vert one of the core prin­ci­ples of ped­a­gogy, namely, to en­gen­der change one should praise rather than crit­i­cise. This is also one of the strate­gies the Dale Carnegie school of thought sells to win friends and to in­flu­ence people. And it ex­plains why we are en­joined to spare the rod to sweeten the child! So how does one ac­count for the di­a­met­ri­cally op­po­site phe­nom­e­non? “Yes praise can mo­ti­vate,” con­cedes Marty Nemko, ca­reer coach and au­thor of How to Do Life: What they didn’t teach you in school. “But be­ing told you can’t may be even more mo­ti­vat­ing be­cause it’s hard to ac­cept that you are un­al­ter­ably in­ad­e­quate.

In con­trast, praise en­cour­ages com­pla­cency. The re­cip­i­ent can’t but help re­lax a bit.” Cre­ative re­sponse to crit­i­cism with­out scorch­ing your self­es­teem is the key. “Give me a critic as a neigh­bour,” prays Sant Tukaram.

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