In a New York Times op-ed, Ashley Merryman writes that losing is good for you.
The science is clear. Awards can be powerful motivators, but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed. Instead, it can cause them to underachieve.
More hateful Boomer criticism?
Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, found that kids respond positively to praise; they enjoy hearing that they’re talented, smart and so on. But after such praise of their innate abilities, they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they’d rather cheat than risk failing again.
So what’s the solution? Arkansas Lawprof Joshua Silverstein contends that law schools should eliminate the grade “C” because it makes students sad. At Careerist, Dan Bowling kinda disagrees, after conceding that grading is too subjective to begin with. But he argues that “C” grades aren’t the root of all misery.
That said, there is no denying that the first wave of law school grades comes as a shock to many 1Ls. Over-achievers since toddlerdom, it is their first experience with something less than perfection. The mood in February after first semester grades are released is grim: Students walk around like extras in World War Z. Zombiefied, if you will.
But not all do—at least for long.
His solution is to teach law students “resilience,” which he would then follow up with a nice, shiny trophy, which he calls “focus on student strengths,” to bring them to “wellness.” which is a buzzword that means how to lead a fulfilling life in the absence of accomplishment, or how I learned to love mediocrity.
Despite dicking around the edges, the bottom line is that happiness remains the focus, as if it’s an entitlement rather than something you have to work hard to achieve, and which will remain elusive so that you must constantly pursue it.
The invariable reaction of the slackoisie is that this is just more “old” thinking dumped on the young to compensate for the phony sense that oldsters worked harder when the truth is they had it easy-peasy, and screwed up the world anyway. To the extent the young are narcissistic and entitled, it’s all the Boomers’ fault. To the extent the trophy kids believe they’re entitled to a trophy just for showing up, oldsters are indulging their own delusion of self-worth that no longer applies.
At Heather Morse’s marketing blog, The Legal Watercooler, she tried desperately to make this point by creating a strawman of the dumb old guy who she, the youthful, cutting-edge, brilliant and insightful marketer, would beat to an intellectual pulp. The scenario happens at a conference, because marketeers are constantly going to conferences with other marketeers so they won’t feel lonely.
I started testing out my generational marketing positions, to see if others are seeing and experiencing what I am seeing and experiencing. Is my hypothesis of the generational shift in management impacting direction all in my head, or am I on to something?
I spoke with one gentleman about 10 years older than me. A true Baby Boomer. He was being asked to do things differently than he’s been doing it for decades. He didn’t get all this marketing and outreach. What about relationships and how they used to do it? He wanted to go back “there,” wherever “there” was.
He was being challenged by the times and he was definitely outside his comfort zone.
When I referenced the Millennials, his retort was: “Is that the ‘entitled generation’ they’re always talking about?” And then he went on a mini rant.
You are running around, lamenting the advent of technology, the evolution of business practices, your resistance to change, and “Why can’t we go back to business as usual?” and you call THEM entitled??
Cool use of double facepalm meme and double question marks notwithstanding, she goes on to lament her pretend oldster’s hatred of technology (because nobody over 50 has a com-pu-ter) and refusal to get with the times. She then rants:
And when I start playing with the numbers, are not these members of this so called “entitled” generation the spawn of the Baby Boomers and older GenXers? The same ones who are now lamenting their existence?
Uh huh. Anything else?
Are you not attempting to make yourself feel better in your own limited world by refusing to open yourself up and see where the Millennials and younger GenXers are getting it right?
And what would that be, Heather?
Millennials put family and personal life first. They want a true work/life balance. They cherish experiences. They don’t want to waste all of the daylight hours in an office with artificial lighting. They are happy to get the work done, they just don’t see why it has to be done between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (or 8:00 p.m. to prove how “loyal” they are), or within the walls of your ivory tower rather than from their laptop at home. And they are not necessarily driven by the same dollar that you are.
They want to be happy. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, though what will bring them happiness doesn’t seem to include anything which might be related to accomplishment. If everybody is doing the least amount of work necessary to get by, at home in the jammies, enjoying work life balance, who would be creating those cool technologies that Boomers hate and Millennials adore?
That takes work, from the study needed to learn the science behind tech to its invention, design, creation and fabrication. Are there elves in the backroom somewhere making iPhones? Well, yes, there are, but they need the money enough that they can’t afford to sit at home confused as to why they didn’t get a substantial pay raise after the first week of employment.
I agree that Boomers are to blame for starting the everybody-gets-a-trophy boom, even if I don’t personally subscribe to it. I watched, and argued with, my friends who were absolute believers that this new-fangled method of child-rearing would raise brilliant, motivated, hard-working and, most importantly, happy children. They were on the cutting-edge once, telling their parents (who hated participation trophies more than I did) that they had to evolve and change with the times.
And the result is the Slackoisie. Each generation was young once, pushing the envelope and creating what it thought to be a more perfect world. Looking back, we realize that we got some things right but a lot wrong. The Milliennials will eventually see the bigger picture, except they will see it on a screen, if they can find anyone among them who is willing to get up, sacrifice a moment’s happiness and actually make a screen anymore.
You want happiness? You want wellness? Earn it. Make it happen. Put in the hard work needed to accomplish your goals. And if you don’t like getting a “C,” then push to ace the course. It can be done. It just takes effort.