We all know optimism is an empowering virtue. When we consciously choose to focus on the good in others and give them positive feedback, the results and rewards are meaningful and energizing for everyone.
Appreciating the positive actions of others also encourages them to be more optimistic and resilient when dealing with adversity. It also influences them to live happier, healthier and more productive lives.
Research proves that pessimistic people give up faster and come up with less creative solutions to challenging problems than their optimistic counterparts.
As Shawn Achor describes in his book, The Happiness Advantage, “…doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster. Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56 percent. Students primed to feel happy before taking math achievement tests far outperform their neutral peers. It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive.”
However, research also suggests the majority of people say they don’t get enough positive feedback. To those individuals…no news is not good news.
Feeling appreciated is a basic need for all of us, especially those in the millennial generation.
When we show our approval for what someone else has done, not only do we make the other person feel valued, but we also feel better for doing it.
We all win when we sincerely share a positive comment with those we lead and love. Even when we recognize a stranger for their positive actions, we light a fire that burns long after our interaction has ended. Like a good investment, the appreciation increases in value over time.
If you feel some of the people in your world would benefit from more of your positive feedback, I encourage you to do this exercise with me for the next 7 days. I believe it will have a dramatic impact on the quality of your relationships and results.
Each day for the next 7 days, make a commitment to show your appreciation for everyone who does something positive for you. Even if what they did was part of their job, do something to show your approval. It can be as simple as a kind word and a smile. It just needs to be sincere.
Make a list of the 7 most important people in your life and identify something you appreciate about them. Put your thoughts into a short hand-written note and mail one letter per day. Even if you live with someone on your list, still put the note in the mail. It will be an unexpected pleasure for them to get your encouraging words delivered to the house.
Start and end your day by making your first and last email one where you show your appreciation for a co-worker, client, family member or friend. It should not be a long message, but rather a quick note to let the other person know you appreciate something they’ve done.
When we develop the habit of always showing our appreciation for the positive qualities and actions of others, it will bring out the best in everyone.
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin