The truth about the human person is that he wants to feel appreciated. Though we don’t want to admit it, though we want to remain humble, we secretly like when people speak well about us. That’s why we feel bad when they speak ill, and try with every fiber of our being to be the best version of ourselves in order to be on people ‘s good side, most of time. Aristotle even went so far as to say, “no one does the wrong willingly and knowingly”. It’s human nature to want to make a difference. Well, I’ve recently learned we can kill two birds in one shot: we can simultaneously be liked and make a difference.
First, start with a smile. A smile says I like you, you make me happy, and and I am glad to see you. So, as you’re passing by someone today, don’t just simply greet him/her. Do it with a smile. I am not talking about an insincere grin, or a show of your beautiful well-arranged teeth, I mean a heartwarming smile that comes from within, the kind that will make a good price in the marketplace. As you wake up today, greet your husband or wife with a ‘good morning my dear ’ and smile as you say it, and you tell me the difference it makes. As you’re meeting your co-worker, pastor, friends, strangers in the next few days, do it with a nice smile that tell them what you’re about, and you’ll see how much people start to change their attitude toward you. They will want to know about that medication you’re taking, so to speak. Only one requirement, be sincere!
Secondly, be interested in people. “Don’t be selfish. Don’t think everything has to be about you”, says Dale Carnegie. Let others speak. Don’t cut them off. Actively participate in the conversation. Look the person in the eyes. Make him/her feel that he/she is the most important thing in your life at this specific moment. We all like that. Take time to listen to people and listen interestedly. Ask questions. A study by the FBI found that people act on emotion rather than reason and that leads to violence and bad decision making. I think one of the ways to remedy that malady is to give people a chance to speak. The more you let a person speak, especially if there is anger, the quicker the emotion will subside and the mind will calm and there is a greater chance for a happy ending. So kindness, understanding, and good attention in conversation lead to more enjoyable and fruitful outcomes. Everyone wins.
Finally, make people feel important. You and I have a tendency to think that we are the most important person in the whole world, however that does not work. We are most important when we make people feel they are the most important. That’s a universal truth. Philology, all the philosophies, and religious systems—be it Plato, Aristotle, Buddha, Confucianism, Taoism, Jesus— have taught it in one form or another: ”do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. So next time, you see someone down, try to compliment him/her. That will raise up her/his spirit, and you never know, that might start a conversation that saves the day. We all have something worth being praised for. I know what you’re thinking: “what if I don’t find anything worthy of praise?” well, a nice office, a nice smile, a courageous act, an act of kindness, success, a good home or car, how one overcame a struggle etc. etc. are all worth a praise. Do you want people at your office to be more productive? Start praising them on what they are doing well. Tell them how important they are to the place. And you’ll see the difference. For a reason that I ignore, we all like being praised. We like knowing that WE ARE IMPORTANT. It brightens our day; it gives us confidence to go forward. It incentivizes us when we know someone had paid attention. That’s human nature. Again, one requirement, be genuine. No one wants to listen to cheap, insincere praise, or flattery.