On Praise and Compliments

Justin is the kind of guy that everyone wants to be around.  He seems like he's always smiling and laughing.  Too busy loving life to care about what anyone thinks.  You meet him and you instantly feel like he could be your best friend and you his. 

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
— Leo Buscaglia

What is it about Justin?  He's genuine. He's the type of guy who asks you how you're doing and really wants to know!  He seems like he's listening to everything you're saying during a conversation and he's quick with a compliment.  It never feels forced.  He's just observant, in the moment, and happy to tell you when he appreciates something he sees.

When your ego is in balance it's a lot easier to appreciate things around us.  We see things that we'd otherwise overlook when we're feeling superior or inferior to other people.  When we notice things that we like, a piece of art, a nice perfume, a new hairstyle it brings us a little bit of joy.  One of our senses is piqued.  It's the reason so many people have been telling you to stop and smell the damn roses.

But when we're not living in the moment, when we're distracted it can be harder to notice.  That's why mindfulness is so important. When we are mindful we're more aware of life's little joys.  Fatherhood is filled with these little joys.  Think about hearing your children laugh, or watching them walk for the first time, or feeling a hug from those little arms each time you come home.  Bring a smile to your face?  It does for me. And as we learned in Power Through Posture, simply smiling can make you happy, whether or not you were happy to begin with.

When we experience these little joys in life, it's important to share them.  We touched on practicing gratitude and joy in our article on vulnerability.  But what does that mean? Let your children know how much you love to hear them laugh.  Let your wife know how beautiful she is in when you find yourself looking at her like the first time you met. Let your employees know when they've done a great job on a project or tell your boss how much you appreciate the work-life balance they allow you.  Don't force any of these! Genuine praise and compliments are the only ones that matter.  Don't worry, when you become more aware of these little moments or gestures that make you happy, you'll start to see them everywhere you look.  And when you share praise and compliments with others, they'll start to notice the little joys in their own lives.

So recognize the little joys in life.  Practice gratitude.  And soon enough people will be talking about you the same way they talk about Justin...he's a pretty great guy.