Anakin's Pendulum of Self-Worth
Anakin was born into slavery where he was quickly taught that life got better or worse based upon how much people thought you were worth. He claimed that he “wouldn’t have lasted so long if [he] wasn’t so good at fixing things.” He takes pride in this, because while he hates being a slave, at least he knows he’s valuable and safer as a result. He works hard and is talented. He knows it and he uses this knowledge as a weapon against the cruelties of life…including Sebulba.
As comfortable as Anakin is in that knowledge, he makes sure that everyone knows it. It needs to be known that he has worth. Thus, when Watto says that he “smashed up my pod in the last race,” Anakin is quick to point out that it wasn’t his fault and look what a good job I did. When Watto praises him, he calms down. He needed to hear that because he didn’t want Qui-Gon to lose interest in him because he isn’t useful anymore. He needs people to like him. When, you understand that this concept of economics, for lack of a better term, is what drives Anakin’s behavior, a lot of things make sense.