Did you know that getting a compliment triggers the same area in the brain as receiving cash? This is something for all of us to think about and consider. What it basic means is that you basically leave your house, every morning, with stacks of $20s, $50s and $100s to give out to people- for free- and nothing will be missing from your checking account. Remarkable.
What it also means is that receiving a cash incentive is perceived in the brain in the same manner as receiving any other form of validation- it boosts our sense of worth and accomplishment. Now bear this in mind- cheesy compliments that are not candid will be dismissed by the receiver and he or she will read right through them. But genuine compliments will have a tremendous effect. So often we see people doing remarkable things, and neglect to point out to them that it has not gone unnoticed, that we have noticed their efforts, or change or accomplishments. The other person knows that we care, and feels appreciated and validated. And you know what people who feel validated and appreciated do? People who feel as if you have just handed them $100 just like that, out of the blue? That’s right. They will come back for more. They will seek your approval and will repeat the behavior that resulted in that validation. Wouldn’t you?
The truth of the matter is that we all seek some form of validation, to some extent. We want to feel good about ourselves, we want to feel that we matter, that we are noticed and that we are appreciated. There is no single person who is completely free from the need for validation. It is an innate need and when you think of it, it is completely understandable. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be recognized for our merits. True, we should value ourselves first and foremost, but it is just a really good feeling when our self narrative about ourselves- that we are hardworking, that we are smart, that we are kind, that we are beautiful inside and out, powerful and resourceful and whatever it may be that causes us to feel good about ourselves- is recognized.
Social media is centered exactly around that need.
If you are an employer looking to increase engagement, if you are a parent looking to increase motivation, if you are a person among people looking to be kinder and live in a kinder world- look around you. Do you see something that you think is commendable? Do you see someone doing great? Do you see someone making an effort or do something exceptional? If so, go ahead and tell them that they are great, and tell them why. Give them that $100 bill. It will not be missing in your checking account and you will get another loyal member to your team of supporters.