When I was 12 my teacher wrote in my report, 'Inclined to procrastinate'.
The next day she asked, 'Do you know what procrastinate means?'
'Did you look it up?'
'I meant to', I said, 'I didn't get around to it.'
There's a simple cure if you are inclined to procrastinate. (I'm indebted to Professor Robert Cialdini for this one. He mentions it in his latest book Pre-suasion.)
Call it blind faith if you like, but the rewards of believing that people are on their way to being first-class are enormous and backed by the research.
Since an influential study in American classrooms in the 1960s established the power of the self-fulfilling prophesy, there have been hundreds more. Our belief in their potential or ability can be a useful motivator for children and adults.