(A 3 min read)
“_The love of praise is the beginning of forfeiture.”~ ARAB PROVERB_
In a world of likes, shares, retweets and follows, seeking praise and validation have become a part of our lives. We seek praise in many ways to make us feel good and accepted.
When we give a talk, we want to hear “that was very good”. When we deliver a job, we want to hear “well done”. When we post a picture, we are waiting on the “number of likes”, and so on.
But like many good things, a love for it becomes dangerous. Many things are good but in excess become deadly, e.g. Water. We are encouraged to drink water but in excess, it lowers the sodium concentration in the blood making the brain swell, which can lead to seizures, coma or death.
Same thing for praise, praise can be a good motivator; making us feel good about ourselves and can help boost performance. In 2004, the Gallup Organisation conducted a worldwide research project, surveying more than four million employees about the importance of praise and recognition.
Gallup concluded that employees who receive regular praise are more productive, engaged and more likely to stay with their organisation, than those who do not. The survey results also indicated that employees who are praised receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and even enjoy better health than employees who are not.
“_Praise others. It will bring them peace of mind. Do not expect others to praise you. It will bring you peace of mind.” ~ James Clear _
Reality is, as good as it is to receive praise, my point to you today is DON’T SEEK IT! Like any addiction, addiction to praise can be destructive. It can bring us to a place where we are incapable of doing things effectively till we get our “fix” or “get high”, sorry get praised.
By sharing with enough people or by sharing with those who are likely to tell us what we want to hear, we get to receive a good dose of the approval or praise we seek. The likelihood that most will try to say nice things about what we do so as to massage our ego and not make us feel bad is very high, we all tend to do it in some way. What this means is, we don’t get to do excellent work as we are made to feel our likely average work is good enough.
What can you do differently? Instead of seeking approval, focus on asking questions like:
– What’s wrong with this?
– How can I make this better?
– What can I do differently?
– What didn’t I do right?
– What did I miss in my presentation?
At the end, we reserve the right to ignore what we feel doesn’t work but with this approach, we will get more critical and truthful responses than by asking:
– Is this ok?
– Was that good?
– What do you think?
When giving praise, give it sincerely and genuinely but when it comes to your work, don’t seek praise instead seek gaps, holes, and room for improvement. By doing this, we move from poor to average, average to good, good to excellent, excellent to great, and great to unbelievable.
I hope this was helpful. Let’s not settle for less, for in all of us lies excellence, if we choose to go for it.
Have a great week ahead.