The Overlooked Power of Praise
The present generations have grown up in the world, where we are told what we shouldn’t do, how we shouldn’t behave or how negative our lives are. Hearing all these negative phrases and criticisms inevitably leads to something we call negative conditioning of our mind. We are lead to negativity by default. This is one of the reasons we tend to overlook something all of us can do, we tend to overlook the good stuff in others. We look for the negatives in people, we criticise. What we do very rarely is praise. In this article, I want to focus on the power of praise, its effect on our relationships and more importantly on our own mind.
The Negative Conditioning
As I mentioned in the introduction, most of us have been brought up in a negative environment. We go through our youth learning what is not meant to be done, what can never be achieved and what we need to focus on, although it might be something we really do not enjoy. The way modern society is set up is very alarming. In school, in the workplace, you are criticised whenever you do something that is outside of the norm (in a bad way). You are led to think inside the box, to follow the tradition and to keep your head down. Try to look back, how often have you been criticised for making a mistake? How often have you been praised for performing well? Most of us tend to focus on the negatives to “improve” our behaviour, but we fail to praise the positive, which is actually the factor that influences us the most.
The Power of Praise
So what should we change? According to the books Whale Done and How to Win Friends and Influence People, we need to start looking for the good people around us do and we should start bringing it up more often. Look for the good instead of the bad. Look for the small accomplishments you can praise people for and praise them! It is very unnatural for us since that is not how we have been taught to behave, but it brings miracles. How do you feel when someone tells you how amazingly you’ve completed your task? It feels great. And even more, it makes you want to improve and grow! Praise supports growth and improvement, thus it is a very good idea to praise even slight improvement because it will multiply the original result in the future. Additionally, the more positive you look for, the more positive you will see. The more positive you will see, the more positive you will accept into your life. The more positive you will accept into your life, the more positive you will attract. It is simple, the more you praise, the more will people want to be around you and the more you will want to be around yourself.
Regarding the practical side of this concept, I have discussed different kinds of responses in this article. In short, there are different kinds of responses. You either ignore, you criticise, you praise or you redirect. The most common response is ignorance. The most useful responses are positive and redirection. Why redirection? Because it allows you to take the negative and turn it into praise.
Look for the good in people and in their actions. The greatest challenge for most of us will not be reducing criticism but strengthening praise. We love to ignore the positive, now we have to take a step forward and start praising it.