Giving someone an opportunity to feel that they “can do it.”
Even when faced with something that seems impossible, if you’ve had this kind of successful experience, you might start to think, “I can do it.” People who are known as innovators have all had this kind of foundational experience. Because of that, they can cause a revolution that was previously thought to be impossible.
After speaking to many researchers who are studying education, I’ve come to understand that you need an experience of taking responsibility for something, doing your best with it, and seeing the results. Even a little is okay, but you need to feel that you’ve changed the world using your own power. And the younger you experience this the better.
In my case, my father gave me that opportunity. It was really a trial by fire, but I could get through it because I had the confidence that I could carve out my own future.
Teaching 3 – Heap on the praise
When I give a lecture, people of my parents’ generation sometimes ask me, “What kind of education did you get from your father and mother?” I think that the Son family method of education can be simply summed up as: “Heap on the praise.”
When I was an elementary school student, we would sometimes do drills, and then have a small test. They were really simple tests, where you were expected to get 10 out of 10. But when I showed my perfect score to my father, he would exclaim, “You’re a genius!” and wouldn’t listen when I explained, “But everyone got full marks.”
Of course, sometimes I didn’t get full marks. I’d bring home an 8 or 9 test, to which my father would say, “Even Homer sometimes nods”, the proverb for when great men make mistakes. “I have no doubts about your genius!” he would declare.
If I drew a picture and showed him, he would say, “That’s a masterpiece worthy of Picasso!” He’d throw his hands up in amazement, exclaiming, “Amazing!” He would exaggerate even further, saying that I had surpassed Picasso. Even as a child, I could see that he was being a doting dad, and felt really embarrassed about all the praise.
But the strange thing is, if you’re continually told something, you start to believe it’s true. When you’re a child, you can get simple pleasure out of pleasing your parents, and it also becomes a source of motivation. You start to work even harder, and your test scores go up.