Do You Think You're a Better Athlete Than You Really Are?

I always thought I was a  pretty good writer.  I've won state writing contests since I was 12.  But lately I've been reading some novels and I realized, maybe I'm not all that.

That's right in keeping with what a new study has found.  According to, it’s a natural reaction "because we have a hard time accurately evaluating our abilities."

People often think they are good at their job or have a talent, such as singing, because of the feedback they receive from employers, family and friends, the Web site reports. "Too often that feedback is vague" and does not offer any suggestions for improvement, it quotes a study expert. "It is much easier to tell someone they are doing a good job instead of being honest and risk hurting their feelings."
“This is one reason why we have barriers to self-insight, because oftentimes, even if we get feedback, it’s not accurate,” Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, tells “As a society we make the wrong trade-off by thinking that boosting self-esteem is going to boost performance, and that rarely happens. That empty praise of telling someone they’re great, or pretending there are not skill differences when there are, can really become a problem.”
I know I'm guilty of telling my son he's a winner even when he's not.  Though he truly has artistic ability, I rave about everything, even the pieces I think aren't really so good.  He usually gets good grades but if he gets a "B," I reassure him that it doesn't matter.  And as for sports, well, let's just say that he's not in danger of making any varsity teams, though I praise his every soccer move.
I'm really not doing him any favors, I know.
Krizan goes on to say that people will focus on areas in which they excel and downplay their weaknesses. "For example, someone may be good at basketball, but claim to be a good athlete even though they do not perform well in many other sports," he tells
So should we not give our friends and loved ones compliments and praise?  That's not the answer, either. Maybe we should just try to be slightly more truthful when someone isn't quite as good as they could be at something and encourage them to work a little harder.


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