EVERYONE NEEDS ACKNOWLEDGMENT. Not that
well die without it, but it really makes a difference when
we know other people know how good a job were doing.
But not one in ten of us gets enough appreciation.
A common reaction to this fact is that bosses and spouses should
pay more attention; they should notice and then appreciate us.
The problem is, it is hard to notice the absence of a negative
condition. When you dont create problems and do your
work well, and you allow other people to do their jobs unhindered,
what is there to notice? Your good job becomes business as usual.
The juxtaposition of those two facts
everyone needs acknowledgment and it is hard to notice the absence
of a negative condition presents us with but one solution:
You must elicit your own acknowledgment. You must point
out your efforts to others when they dont notice.
But you cant do that! Its called
bragging. And weve all met obnoxious, self-centered, boorish
people who had a habit of talking about themselves and what theyve
accomplished. Bragging is offensive. Isnt it?
Yes it is when it is done by obnoxious,
self-centered people. When it is done by someone who simply wants
to do a good job and stay motivated, eliciting acknowledgment
can be a positive thing for everyone involved.
It might go something like this: Youve
been particularly careful about doing a certain thing, and you
have been doing it consistently. You know this thing youre
doing really helps out. You know things are working a
lot better because youre putting in the time and effort
to do this thing well. But since it helps everything go well,
and since it is so difficult to notice an absence of a negative
condition, no one notices youre doing such a good job.
So when your spouse or boss is nearby, say to them, Ive
been working very hard to make sure this thing goes right, and
its been going right. I just wanted someone to know.
Since we are all in the same boat, the
person youre talking to will understand the feeling of
simply wanting someone else to know, and you might even open
up the possibility for him or her to do the same thing (elicit
You dont have to force anything.
You dont have to brag and swagger and say it over and over
all the time until you brighten up the room every time you leave.
You dont need to come from deficiency. You arent
desperate for attention. Youre just helping yourself
feel a little better about your work (and motivating yourself
to keep it up) by letting someone know what youre doing.
Dont expect a lot. Some people will
think its strange that you pointed out your own good work.
Some people will think youre bragging. Keep paying attention
to the kinds of responses you get and keep modifying what youre
doing until it is a simple acknowledgment of the facts. Also,
get people to talk about what they are doing that they
want someone to know about and then give them some acknowledgment
for it. They will not only become more willing to acknowledge
you for your accomplishments, but they will also be less likely
to feel jealous when you point out something you did.
Elicit your own acknowledgment. Its
better than grumbling that no one notices. Its not anyones
fault that no one notices. Because of the way our bodies, brains
and the universe is constructed, it is just that way. Not much
we can do about it but use it. You can bemoan the fact
that gravity keeps you pinned to the Earth or you can accept
it and get so good at dealing with it you can dance!
When you want acknowledgment
for something, tell someone what you did.