Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Power of Appreciation

We all want to be likable, to be recognized and to be successful. The reverse of each will put off any normal human being, no one wants to be disliked, disregarded or to be or even feel like a let-down. Those are the aspects of life that we normally are conscious of but I want to share my thoughts on an aspect less conferred, appreciation.

“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

I want to focus on the issue of “an honest compliment”, out of Leo Buscaglia’s quote that sums up the value of appreciation in our lives. This draws attention on two very important words; honesty and a compliment. This means someone must hold honesty high in their list of values and he must come forward and initiate grounds on giving this compliment to the person who deserves it. This makes the other person aware that someone notices their hard work, beauty or great effort and that someone cares.

Show recognition 
I want to touch more on what actually happens when you give someone a compliment on something they did or how they look or a speech they gave. I want to talk in terms of what happens to their self-esteem and what the result does to their effort and accomplishment.

Often, we are inclined to think that doing exceptionally well in our daily work places doesn’t necessarily need to result in a reward as we are anyways employed to do the job.

People want to reward the extraordinary and that which is perhaps out of the normal expected outcomes. Therefore, much of what we do go unnoticed as such and thus feelings of less appreciation builds up in us. However when we choose to do so, which I recommend, it yields positive results that sees the person rewarded or complemented.

First, we need to ask ourselves the question; what motivates someone to do better?
There are many answers ranging from the presence of role models, awareness of a high success index, need to fulfil a promise, achievement of a certain status, promotion in job rankings, money and family.

All the reasons above are good, but they all mean the person must take the first step to work towards improvement and all this is done consciously. However, and this is the take away package, appreciation starts a step back. When you show appreciation to someone, you instantly stimulate feelings of self-reward in them. This is the utmost assurance that recognition has been given.

If the colleague is ware that he is appreciated, whether in terms of a reward with a message of appreciation or simply a compliment given, he will know he has reached the goal or the ultimate level in whatever they were doing. He will also know that if he does the same thing tomorrow, it is unlikely to yield another note of appreciation simply because that level of expectation has been rewarded already, it has been established that he can reach such levels and anything else done at that same level will not be out of the extraordinary. This is the same whether it is a friend who wore a very nice outfit, a child who cleaned his room very well.

This would definitely make my day

So let us link this to self-esteem which in sociology and psychology is defined as the measure to which a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth is reflected. It is a judgement of oneself as well as an attitude toward oneself.

We see the words “subjective’ and “oneself” which all mean that it is a feeling that is entirely personal, it is a feeling that every individual can only feel towards him/herself. It is therefore very important that something must stimulate this person to feel this way that s/he is worth more. In most cases though it often happens unconsciously, when someone feels appreciated, it very likely increases their levels of self-esteem from low self-esteem to a healthy self-esteem.

I believe people with a healthy or elevated self-esteem are bold, confident and are open to taking up bigger challenges. They are also likely, with great confidence; demonstrate levels of understanding which enables them to teach others. When this self-esteem is acquired, greater effort is thus easy to attain and impose on future tasks; it gives a feeling of “I can do much better”. Success comes easy when someone does something knowing that they are doing a great job, this can be backed up by their good self-esteem and thus the effort they invest in.

Low Self-Esteem. Saul McLeod, 2012

So I think, besides anything else like coaching or training or giving advice or information in how to do better, showing appreciation remain the easiest and most effective way of inducing a good self-esteem, investments of greater efforts and thus, driving success. Showing appreciation is thus the greatest motivator we can give one another. I hope you learnt something from this, thank you!

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