The Praise Paradox: when well-​intended words backfire

Most people would agree: praise is one of the most effective ways to build children’s self-esteem. We are told to be generous with our praise, and to find as many opportunities as possible to praise children so they feel good, learn better, and perform well. It’s such common knowledge, we don’t even question it. But …

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Fail like a scientist

Working on a new project, learning a new skill, trying a new experience—getting out of your comfort zone can be both exciting and frightening. Our fear of failure can be driven by many factors, including a fixed mindset or a fear of being judged. How can you overcome this fear? By learning to fail like …

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Inner child and inner critic: a battle for creativity

“It takes a very long time to become young,” Pablo Picasso once said. Adults miss the innocent curiosity of their youth; artists strive to reclaim their lost childlike creativity. The creative process often feels like a constant battle between an inner child and an inner critic. Can this creative battle turn into creative balance? Becoming …

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Self-competition: only compete with your past self

Competition is stressful, but many regard it as a powerful driver of personal growth. Competitive fire has been praised for the success of political candidates, Olympic athletes, and champion chess players who reached the top by racing someone else. But what we rarely talk about are people who do great without competing against others. In …

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From fixed mindset to growth mindset: the complete guide

If you ask someone “Do you have a growth mindset?”, most people will say yes. In fact, when I ran a poll asking my followers if they had a growth mindset, only 10% said they didn’t. This is called the “false growth mindset” and it’s a natural consequence of being human. You probably heard somewhere …

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30 life lessons I learned before turning 30

I just turned 30. As someone who suffers from time anxiety, I thought it would bring the usual mix of stress and depression I usually experience around birthdays. But, somehow, this year is different. I feel calmer, more confident, and more excited about the future. To some who are younger than me, thirty years may …

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2019 year in review: growth versus goals

The end of the year is usually a time for reflection, gratitude, and planning. With our inboxes quiet and our schedules free of meetings, we can afford to take a moment and think about what we achieved and what’s next. It’s my second year writing an annual review, and I want to make it more …

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The Pygmalion Effect: an invisible nudge towards success

When I was in school, a friend of mine was offered the opportunity to coach the newly formed volleyball team. He didn’t think he had what it took to do a good job, but there was no one else better qualified, so he accepted. While they trained several times a week, my friend kept on …

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Write your own eulogy to shape your future

In Western culture, death is scary. Death is sad. Death is an uncontrollable event which puts an end to all events. This is why we mostly avoid thinking about it. And this is why many cultures and religions have the concept of an afterlife. But thinking about death can be empowering. And one of the …

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Self-help: the tip of the happiness iceberg

If you’re reading this blog, it probably means that you’re interested in personal development. Trying to be your best self, being mindful of the way you work and the way you live. Maybe you’ve read some book or listen to some podcasts. You’re not the only one. The personal development industry is valued at $10 …

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