“The motivational power of a high five has been well documented. In fact, wait until you hear what researchers discovered about high fives when studying the best way to motivate kids in the face of challenging tasks. In one study, school-aged kids were split into three groups and asked to complete difficult tasks. Then, the researchers gave them one of three different forms of encouragement. The kids were either praised for a trait (“You’re so smart.” or “You’re so talented.”), or they were told they were working hard and praised for their effort (“You’re really dedicated!”), or they were simply given a high five.
The high five was hands down the best motivator. Here’s why: The kids who were told they were smart, talented, or skilled were the least motivated and had the least fun. Those praised for their effort showed greater enjoyment and exhibited a higher level of persistence. But kids who got a simple high five? They felt the most positive about themselves and their efforts, and they kept going for the longest time (persistence, people!), despite making mistakes. In fact, the results were so clear that the researchers titled the study “High Fives Motivate” when they published it in the academic journal Frontiers in Psychology.
Researchers concluded that giving a high five to someone is a shared celebration. Holding up your hand with a big smile on your face are two instantly recognizable signs of genuine pride and encouragement. A high five means you are celebrating WITH the other person. You are passing your energy on to them. That is so different from offering passive verbal praise. When you get a high five, you are seen and affirmed as a person. Not for your skills, your effort, or your grades. You are being praised and recognized just for being YOU. And what I am telling you is you can tap into that same power when you can give that high five to yourself in the mirror. And here’s something else to consider: you don’t have to say a thing. The high five itself communicates celebration and belief.
Repeating mantras and statements like “I love myself” can be powerful, but research proves that