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.