One of the easiest ways to make your mind
more positive is to have the goal of trying to give sincere compliments.
Flattery is easy. But giving honest, sincere compliments takes
some effort, and part of the effort is paying attention to what
you genuinely appreciate. Which means what? You're on the
lookout for the good. You've got your attention on what you
It helps to set a goal for the day: "I
will give three good compliments today." It sets your attention
to look for things you appreciate all day long.
Doing this, you get the benefit of having
your attention on the lookout for what you sincerely like, and
that is a positive frame of mind.
But in addition, and more importantly,
when you do this often, you start living and working in an environment
that grows increasingly positive as the people around you begin
to realize you are noticing and appreciating the good things
they do. They are in better moods, and they are motivated
to take more good actions. It creates a positive, upward spiral
of good feelings and good actions.
To give a really good acknowledgment, you
will have to take the time to think of something that isn't genetic
or came about by pure luck, and that you genuinly appreciate.
You'll have to dig in and find what you have been taking for
granted that, if it was gone, you would really realize you would
miss, and that, now that you come to think of it, you really
do appreciate but have been ignoring. (Use comparison-reframes to help you with this.)
The reason you want to avoid complimenting
genetic things is that it is best to compliment the choices
and efforts people make. When someone chooses to put in
extra effort to do something well, the choice and the effort
is voluntary and therefore legitimately praiseworthy.
If someone was born with a fine-looking
face, and you compliment their face, the compliment is not for
the person, really, it is for their genetic luck. There is nothing
to feel proud about in that, and the compliment somehow feels
flat and emotionally meaningless. The person herself had nothing
to do with the structure of her face, and cannot take credit
for it. Or if she did take credit, it would be vanity, which
is a far cry from personal pride.
However, if you compliment someone on the
quality of their work, or the extra time they took to do something,
or the kindness and consideration they showed in dealing with
you, the compliment has some traction. It will have an emotional
impact because it is truly meaningful and legitimately praiseworthy.
Also, the more specific you are, the better
the compliment. "I appreciate how thoughtful you were when
you responded to that woman, and how considerate you were when
you answered her difficult question." That is a more specific
and memorable compliment than something like, "Good job,"
or, "You're great."
Be specific about exactly what you appreciate.
What did you see and hear, specifically? And why do you appreciate
it? What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel?
So that is your mission today, if you should
decide to accept it. Start to train yourself to focus your attention
on what is good. Overcome your natural negative biases and start creating better
feelings immediately. This mission is a great way to do that:
Give three good compliments today.
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