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In Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People, one of the most important qualities he mentioned in getting along with people is honest and sincere appreciation. This has proven to be quite true in reality for me, from both the giving and receiving end. I have noticed people’s eagerness to help out when little things they do are remembered, and also experienced first hand the devastatingly de-motivating effects when my efforts go unnoticed.
Why Show Appreciation?
So why is appreciating people for their efforts so important? This goes back to the meaning of life and finding out what you want. People are programmed to want to exist, with their feelings guiding them towards the path of “most existence”. Some of these ways of existing include existence in other people’s memory, existence by altering history, and existence by contributing something to society. Let’s examine what messages you are sending when you appreciate someone’s efforts versus when you don’t care what they are doing.
When You Don’t Show Appreciation
When you don’t care what other people are doing, you are basically telling them that what they are doing doesn’t matter all that much to you. After all, if it did matter, you’d notice it, wouldn’t you? Since they are doing it, they obviously think it matters. Add in the fact that part of their existence is tied up in what they do, what else can they conclude but that you think they are not all that important. Obviously, if you find them unimportant, their existence in your memory is minimal. Additionally, since what they do is unimportant, you are basically telling them that they’re not really significantly affecting history either, decreasing that aspect of their existence. Along the same lines, it also implies they’re not really contributing anything to society.
When You Do Show Appreciation
Contrast that to acknowledging people’s contributions and appreciating them for their efforts. That sends a completely different message. It shows the person that what they are doing is so important that you remember every little detail. Their existence in your memory is indelible! Not only that, if you are so excited about what they are doing, it must have similar effects on some other people too. That must mean what they’re doing is creating a lot of value for some group of people and irrevocably altering history.
When To Show Appreciation
One says the other person is nothing; the other says the other person is everything. The difference? Only a few words expressing how you feel (assuming that you do feel that way).
Of course, that begs the question, what if you don’t really think some of the things that the person does is all that important? How do you show appreciation then? Well, in that case, you don’t! Remember that the appreciation has to be honest and sincere. A fake show of appreciation is just for your benefit, which doesn’t indicate to the other person they are actually important to you at all. In fact, it will probably offend him/her since if you’re not showing real appreciation, then you’re basically showing a lack of appreciation, resulting in the same feelings as those in the “When You Don’t Show Appreciation” section above.
How To Show Appreciation
So what do you do in this case? Well, you simply ignore the things that you don’t appreciate and focus on the things that you do appreciate. Did people say something nice to you? Tell them that you appreciate how nice they are. Did they do something unique that excites you? Tell them you appreciate how excited they made you feel.
Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be some gesture where you bring a ton of flowers or anything like that. All the “fluff” is just icing on the cake, but be sure to have the cake! The core of showing appreciation is to convey the message to the other person that you appreciate something they have done for you. Usually, just saying it sincerely is sufficient to convey the message.
Go ahead and thank someone for something they’ve done for you. It costs you so little, but it might mean the world to the other person!
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