There was an interesting saying going around the counseling faculty when I was getting my master’s. “Self-esteem is bullsh*t.”
This from the people who can’t stop asking “how does that make you feel?”
So what do they mean?
There’s an idiocy going around right now that we should tell our students that they are doing a great job… even if they aren’t. That they’re contributing to the group… even if they aren’t. That they’re incredible martial artists that can take out any group of attackers no matter how many knives and baseball bats… even if they can’t.
The idea is that self-esteem builds confidence and this makes people healthy and strong.
Our kids are getting a nice dose of this. If you haven’t met any kids recently, go meet some and see how this is working out for them. My guess is you already have and you know what I’m talking about.
So what do we replace self-esteem with?
It’s called self-efficacy. This is a psych term that basically means “I know I can produce a result.”
Instead of telling a kid they’re great (for no reason), do this instead: teach them a skill. Work them until they’re actually good at it. Guess what happens after that? They feel good about themselves. They feel capable and strong. They feel confident (and the confidence is based on something real).
Want real confidence? Develop a skill.
Looking for a skill to develop?
How about he first 4 primary skills of Tai Chi Chuan?
- Peng (Ward off)
- Lu (Rollback)
- Ji (Press)
- An (Push)
These 4 skills are emphasized quite heavily in the Tai Chi classics and are often considered the foundation of Tai Chi, along with Sung and Structure.
In Albany NY this summer Sigung Clear held a small group training session on Sung, Peng, Lu, Ji & An.
The entire session has just been added to the Tai Chi Online members area. You can begin training these skills right now, right here:
If you’re not a member, you can join for only $5 and start training right away.