„Not criticized is praise enough“

There is a logic to why Germans rarely give praise. They believe that being one‘s own most severe critic is the prerequisite for working independently, for self-management. Praise is given and expected sparingly. The following expression reveals the German logic: Nicht geschimpft, ist genug gelobt or Not criticized is praise enough.

Germans learn at an early age to expect more critique than praise, from parents, teachers, sports coaches. Young Germans are trained to be self-critical, to be wary of undeserved praise. Experts in education and child-rearing warn of the dangers of too much praise. It can quickly lead to oversized egos, to overrating one‘s abilities, to losing touch with reality.

If praise is given, then it should come from an external, neutral, critical source. German children learn from an early age on not to put their achievements on display, not to brag, but instead to be reserved and modest. Every German child has heard at least once that Eigenlob stinkt, that self-praise stinks.