The Trouble with Amazing: Giving Praise that Matters | Professional Learning for Busy Educators |
What’s wrong with amazing? Or phenomenal? Or any other superlative we throw around a hundred times a day?

Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with them. Sometimes they just help us express emotion. If you’re starving, and you just took your first bite of a fresh, hot burrito, phenomenal might be the only way to describe that burrito. That’s not a problem. It certainly won’t bother the burrito.

But if you’re trying to motivate someone—a student, an employee, your child—calling them amazing won’t pump them up the way you hope it will. Not in any lasting way. What’s worse, it could have the opposite effect. Here are three reasons why.