Why compliments are one of the most valuable gifts you can give.
Money does not grow on trees. Unless you work in lumber industry, you’ve likely heard this saying a hundred times. The takeaway is that money is not free. You don’t have an endless supply of it. So be careful how you spend it. However, there is another extremely valuable asset that you have at your disposal, right now, that I encourage you to give to others as often as you can.
If you have ever received a great compliment you know that they are worth more than gold. They are the currency that pre-pay many of the greatest accomplishments in our lives. They are the prizes that reward our greatest efforts. They positively reinforce our positive actions. They pick us up when we are feeling down. They keep us going when the going gets tough. And they help counterbalance the times we are told we have lipstick on our teeth, bats in the cave, or have left our barn door open.
Receiving compliments builds confidence. Compliments are proof that the world noticed you getting things right. They shine a spotlight on the skills and abilities that others value in you. Which reminds you to value them in yourself.
Get Comfortable With It.
However, paying people compliments can feel uncomfortable. We worry that our praise will sound weird. Or creepy. Or Weinsteiny. Or that a compliment won’t mean much coming from little ole me.
To avoid personal discomfort we often add a qualifier or a disclaimer to our compliments. We say things like, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way…’ or, ‘I don’t want to give you a big head but…’ (which is materially different than giving someone a big headbutt.)
Straight Up, like Paula Abdul
Don’t add disclaimers to your compliments. Serve them straight up. Share your positive feedback and observations without any negativity. That’s how it has the most positive impact, and greatest value. Compliments are a tremendous gift. And they should be offered the way you offer cash in a birthday card. Crisp. Clean. Un-crumpled, un-ripped, un-torn. And in reasonably large quantities.
Making It Rain Up In Here
I make a point of offering compliments any time I can. Which means that I notice all the good things I want to see in the world. And I encourage others to create even more of it. I find myself complimenting others for the following:
- problem solving
- good cooking
- creating nice lists of bullet points
Mahatma Gandhi said that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. (He also said, ‘I feel like sheet today!’) But we must also call out and compliment the good that we want to see in the world. That positive reinforcement is the best way to ensure that you will see even more of it around you in the future.
Compliments are one of the most valuable gifts we can give another human. They are often the greatest payments a person will receive for their efforts. Compliments encourage. They reinforce. They have the power to change lives. So give them freely. Give them often. Give them without qualifier or disclaimer. And know that your small investment of time and effort may last a lifetime.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.