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Hate to say it, Sebastian, but this whole comment seems built on the back of a false dichotomy. You don't either berate your kids and force them to toil for years at something they hate OR they turn into listless, lifeless middle managers who just fart along. Plus, you're completely ignoring survivorship bias (in some cases literally): for every Andre Agassi, there are probably thousands of parents who told their kids they'd be #1 at tennis...and none were. You think those kids have now achieved self-actualization? Not to mention the fact that lots of people who ARE #1 haven't achieved any kind of "self-actualization" either, and are completely miserable people inside.

On this topic, I intend to teach my kids the three things my father told me over and over and over as a kid:

  1. A job worth doing is a job worth doing well.
  2. Winners concentrate on winning. Losers concentrate on getting by.
  3. You can do anything you set your mind to.
If they want to use that to become #1 in the world at tennis or #347 at being a middle manager in a warehouse in Nevada, that's great. Life isn't about being #1 in the world or being a celebrity or marrying another celebrity. It's being secure in who you are and the choices you've made.

Here's to all the middle managers in Nevada who love their jobs :)




> Hate to say it, Sebastian, but this whole comment seems built on the back of a false dichotomy. You don't either berate your kids and force them to toil for years at something they hate OR they turn into listless, lifeless middle managers who just fart along.

C'mon Ryan, the whole discussion is littered with anecdotes, and I made another one. Obviously I don't think those are the only possible outcomes... but I do think a focus on duty/achievement/service/etc is underrated in the West right now.

> On this topic, I intend to teach my kids the three things my father told me over and over and over as a kid:

That's cool and your dad sounds like a pretty solid and cool dude, and that jives with generally what I believe.

Going beyond just parenting, I do think everyone should try to excel at something - unless the middle manager is fully engaged and driven by his work, then I think it'd be good for him to strive to excel in music or art or charity or philanthropy or teaching or athletics or trying to build an amazing family or something...

I think not striving for excellence in anything is kind of sad. Why not try to push civilization forwards? Sometimes the main reasons said out loud - "well, I just want to be happy" - seem to mask other darker reasons, like fear of failure or inertia or feeling ill-equipped to make a difference. That's a damn shame. Why not strive to make some excellent contributions, in addition to striving to be happy?


>Sometimes the main reasons said out loud - "well, I just want to be happy" - seem to mask other darker reasons, like fear of failure or inertia or feeling ill-equipped to make a difference.

Sometimes obsession with external validation masks the same things.

There are no easy answers as to what is best for any given human, but there's definitely a market for those looking for the kind of easy answers that Amy Chua is selling.


You know cantelon, I'm going to think twice next time before I take up a position that the people who agree are quiet, and the people who disagree are loud. I put my perspective and reasoning up as impersonally as possible, and people are voting up someone who blames everyone else for their problems, saying he hates me and "fuck you"? It's... I dunno man, there's been some good discussion but I'm incredibly disappointed with some people just empathy-voting up raw hostility. I'll answer this though -

> Sometimes obsession with external validation masks the same things.

Y'know, I don't care about someone's motives if they're conducting themselves well... if someone gives to charity out of a desire to glorify themselves, that's totally okay in my book. Likewise, someone who invents just to have their name on an invention or innovation. A lot of great scientists, inventors, philanthropists, builders, and people who did good things really liked seeing their name in print. So be it, if they're doing good things.

> There are no easy answers as to what is best for any given human, but there's definitely a market for those looking for the kind of easy answers that Amy Chua is selling.

Indeed... or like the everyone is a unique snowflake craze, eh? There aren't easy answers. I dunno man, I come in here to share an alternative point of view. There's some good feedback/disagreement, but I'm a little surprised and let down by people giving the nod to really personal nasty hostility.


>Indeed... or like the everyone is a unique snowflake craze, eh?

Yeah, both attitudes are simplistic.

Hadn't seen the hostility directed towards you until now. Not constructive as you have no ill intent.


I think people are downvoting this because it appears you're fighting the wrong person. "sown" was the one who cursed at you, so this reply seems a bit out of place, since this reply is above "sown"'s post.


Everybody else is doing it? Seriously? That's what discourse on HN has come to?

C'mon Sebastian, you've been called on building a whole argument on an anecdote, suck it up and admit your mistake.


I would add one:

  4. Hard work is more important than being smart.
The reason for this has been discussed a lot, but the jist is that telling kids they are smart causes them to feel like there is something wrong with them when they try new things and fail ("I'm smart, why can't I solve this??!"). Praising hard work has been shown to work better.


Exactly. For more details, go to the source: Carol Dweck. A good starting point is her popular book Mindset. (www.mindsetonline.com) There's also now online growth mindset instruction for middle school students (and older) -- see www.brainology.us.


That's what he meant by #3 :)


This was shown in experiments Jonah Lehrer wrote about in "How We Decide"


FuckinA.


This, a thousand times.




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