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Complimenting is an art!

We have all received compliments at some point of time or the other. Some we remember, some we don’t. And then there are those few that we cherish – the ones that bring a smile on our face anytime we think of them. It could’ve been years back, but every time we think of them, the same feeling of happiness comes by again. What is it that makes a compliment tick and stick for so long? Here are a few things that made the difference:

1) How they feel depends on how you say – Firstly, like everything else, complimenting too is an art. And art means expression. Consider half the job done, when you say it with expressions and communicate your energy and enthusiasm behind the compliment. It is such that it lifts the emotional state of the receiver in an instant. Passionately communicate rather than merely stating. Compliment is an expression of praise or admiration not a generic talk.

2) Make it an identity – Anything positive can be made to an identity level statement. For example, you are a terrific orator (instead of, ‘you speak well’); you are a great singer (instead of, ‘you sing well’). This will help them get associated with a positive word for themselves and repeat their excellence in other contexts too.

3) Remember & recall – It is important that you are explicitly quoting what you liked the most. That way, you are giving evidence that you were fully there and focused; and by stating specifics, you are also helping the person understand what the best part about what they did was and help the other person bring their unconscious excellence to their consciousness. Hence repeating this behaviour will be easy for them in the future.

4) Don’t stop just yet – Stating one sentence is easy. But, if you really liked something and truly want to appreciate, be generous with words. If their actions blew you away, the least we can do is sweeping them off their feet with our words, isn’t it? This is one place where we wouldn’t leave a person wanting for more. Let’s just give it to them since they deserve it.

5) ‘Buts’ can be parked – Following up a compliment with a ‘but’ is as good as negating. It is said that whatever precedes ‘but’ is bullshit. Think about it – “I like you…but…” And you don’t even want to hear the rest of it because you know the first part is not absolute. A compliment is strong enough to stand alone. It doesn’t need the support of advises or suggestions. Let’s park them for a later date if required.

6) Stick to the present rather than the past– Sometimes, when we like something about a person in the present, we tend to compare it with the behaviour of theirs from the past which we didn’t appreciate as much. This can backfire at times. Also, rather than spending more time talking about a past that wasn’t appreciated, we might as well focus on the present that we appreciate. The golden rule is ‘stay put with the desired behaviour’.

7)  You could be better, but that is for later – It isn’t about you, so fully focus on the other. Even if you have done something similar, or if you were the one who is responsible for their excellence right now, that is not most important right now. Be magnanimous and selfless in appreciation of the other. A simple sentence like, “See, I told you” or “I did something very similar” can reduce the effect of a compliment. You can’t appreciate and advice someone at the same time!

8) Compliments don’t need cousins for comparison – Rather than telling someone that they were better than another, appreciate them for who they truly are. That way we are truly celebrating excellence without putting down another. When we compare we may forget to see their uniqueness.

9) Don’t miss the moment – As much as the compliment, the timing is also important. Say it as soon as you experience their excellence. Say someone won an award and if you wish them after 3 months, even when you had the chance to wish them the same day …!!!

10) And then stop – Anything in excess loses its credibility. Saying the same thing in different variations isn’t effective. In fact, it makes people think that there’s no depth or content in the compliment. So, it’s good to know when to stop just as well.

As much as it is a joy to receive a compliment, there is just as much in giving a compliment and lighting up someone’s day too. Intent is always right behind a compliment. Getting it right hence, becomes easy. There could be more things to make a good compliment a cherished experience. Feel free to share. And, have a wonderful day ahead!

A bug called ‘Comparison’!

A lot of times, there’s nothing wrong with our present. Everything is fine, until… we get bitten by that bug called comparison. Read on…

Situation Comparison Effect
On a holiday. Checked in to a hotel – Neat, clean, spacious room. Pretty good. On a previous holiday, the hotel had more cool features and a bigger bed Happiness goes down a notch. Can’t appreciate the hotel for what it has. Immersed in thoughts of what else could’ve been better.
Birthday party. Lots of people wishing & celebrating. Cut a cake. Last year I cut 3 cakes and had a surprise party. The joy of this year’s celebration goes down a notch
Posted a picture on Facebook. A lot of people ‘like’ it. A friend’s picture has more likes. Unhappy that the popularity is not as great as the friend’s.
Good review rating and great increment for the good work done in office. Very happy. A colleague gets promoted Engulfed by sadness as to “Why not me”?
Bought a new house. Really put in lots of efforts & money to buy it. It was a dream come true. See pictures of a friend’s house, much more lavish and beautiful. Start feeling burdened by how much more hard work is required to get there. Completely miss out on the goodness of the present house.
Food cooked by spouse is really great. Enjoy the luxury of home-cooked healthy and tasty meals Not as good as Grandma’s food. Fail to appreciate spouse for the good food every day.
A child does a really cool piece of art work. Impressive. Just saw another kid who had done something more creative. Don’t feel as excited in appreciating the child’s work anymore.
A healthy body. Indeed something to be grateful for. Not as pretty/handsome as the person next door. Totally miss out on experiencing the joy of having a healthy body.
Getting into a meeting feeling very confident. Suddenly you see someone you think as very smart and impressive and a senior leader in the organization. Starting to feel more nervous and less confident.
Delighted to be enrolled in classes to learn a new skill. Speed of learning is not as good as someone else. Completely miss out on the joy of learning. Instead, land up feeling pressurized.

Quite often, we aren’t happy not because what we have isn’t good; but because we compared it to something that was apparently ‘better’ in our opinion. If the bug called comparison is a recipe for your success and drives you to do more, go for it. But if isn’t, drop it. Imagine this – you put in a lot of effort to do something but someone doesn’t appreciate you because they compare you to another. It doesn’t feel right, does it? It is only fair that people appreciate you for what you have to offer rather than compare you to others and miss out on your excellence.

Sometimes comparison may be a strategy to regret. A mechanism to feel bad and tell yourself you are not as good as someone. And this someone will always be there. But should that prevent you from being happy with yourself and what you have?

Note: Being happy with yourself does not equal to being complacent. One can be happy and strive for greater things in life. The pursuit of excellence comes from a place of knowing your own potential than anything else. And a happy person is more likely to get what he wants. Just remember to enjoy the ride while aspiring to reach your destination.

A Life Beyond Measure!

We humans and our innate desire to measure!
Eternally curious to know which is the tallest mountain, the deepest sea, the prettiest flower.
Ever wondered if the sea or the mountain cared if they were the highest or the deepest?
They simply are what they are!
Does the rose ever care if it is the prettiest flower?
It simply is!

Fancy measuring happiness in litres or kilograms
And saying I am 10 litres happy or 2 tons sad? 🙂
The most precious things in life are often not measurable
Like love, happiness, gratitude, hunger, compassion, devotion, determination, sincerity, etc.
In a competitive world, will quantity overpower quality? Nope!

What fun would it be, if we lived for a 100 years,
Married at the right age, had kids at the right age,
Worked till the right age, retired at the right age,
Died at the right age (if there ever is one) –
And if we are not happy at the end of the day,
If we’ve not made a difference to the world in which we existed!

We call it one year when the earth completes one revolution.
Because of that, our age goes up by one.
What if the earth took 1000 days to complete one rotation?
Does that mean we are younger – because the measure changes?

We are only as young as we imagine
As happy as we feel
As intelligent as we think
As charming as we believe!

Unique you are and unique you will be!
To exist in a relative measure all the time is an effort!
You are one of a kind and there’s no one else quite like you.
With whatever combination you are made of;
Celebrate life – without comparison – it surely is worth it!

Even if a 100 things may have gone wrong in the past,
The 101st is waiting to happen the right way.
Believe in it! And your belief shall make it come true.
Measure not your life with the past
For ahead, lies the best!