By now you’ve probably heard about the “you’re not special” speech, when English teacher David McCullough told graduating seniors at Wellesley High School: “Do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.” Mothers and fathers present at the ceremony — and a whole lot of other parents across the Internet — took issue with McCullough’s ego-puncturing words. But lost in the uproar was something we really should be taking to heart: our young people actually have no idea whether they’re particularly talented or accomplished or not. In our eagerness to elevate their self-esteem, we forgot to teach them how to realistically assess their own abilities, a crucial requirement for getting better at anything from math to music to sports. In fact, accurate self-evaluation is a skill the rest of us could stand to acquire, too. It’s not just privileged high-school students: we all tend to view ourselves as above…

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