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Appreciation Goes a Long Way

Appreciation is the recognition of the quality, value, or significance of someone or something.

Have you ever felt appreciated? Have you ever showed your appreciation to others? Do you think that showing appreciation is really that important?

One of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Dr. William James, spent his professional life studying human behavior. He wanted to know what made people tick, and he wanted to know what brought out the best in people. He wrote a number of books on these subjects.

Near the end of his life, he was in hospital and received a plant from a friend. Dr. James wrote a note of thanks for the plant. As he wrote the note, he reported that it suddenly dawned on him that one of the “deepest craving in human nature was the craving to be appreciated.” It seemed so obvious—but he had overlooked it in his research.

He believed that the craving to feel appreciated is never satisfied. If you have people feel appreciated, he said, you will have power and influence—not over them but rather with them.

When you have people feel genuinely appreciated, you stand out from the crowd. The reason is that most people don’t bother to take the time or the effort to show appreciation. Even though people might know they’ve done a good job, and even though they might know they’re appreciated, it is significantly satisfying to hear or see it.

Sending a handwritten note of appreciation can be very powerful. Written notes take a bit more effort than simply saying something verbally or sending an email, but they are sometimes kept and reread for years. I still keep mine.

Tip: Show appreciation to others. Get in the habit of writing a note of thanks or recognition. Even a simple “thanks for being in my life” will totally “make one’s day.”

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