As someone who has heard the same advice about praising effort instead of innate traits, I appreciated this article. It helped me think. Like you, I think the aforementioned advice is very helpful, but I have also felt that it is not always as simple as choosing to encourage effort and not traits.
Your explanation of creating “external standards” and your reasons for valuing them put more concrete ideas and words to something I have felt but haven’t quite been able to articulate for myself as a parent. I recognize what you describe in my own wife, who has expressed many times (in her own words) how her dad created great external standards for her. Many guys liked her over the years before we started dating, but as she tells it, many of them did not value her or talk to her or treat her in the way that lived up to the very, very high standard she picked up from — you got it — her dad. So she didn’t settle.
Thanks for this good food-for-thought article, Kyle. As a non-Medium-member, I can’t clap for this (or I would) but a comment is always better anyway.