You know what feels good? Giving positive feedback. We know that feedback is crucial for people to improve at anything from driving to being a therapist, and many of the times we’re driven to give feedback is when we’re angry, or we’ve been wronged. And even though we’re trained to believe that intelligence is best expressed by finding fault, I’ve found that it takes just as much mental energy to find things to praise as it does to criticize (and in some cases, a lot more).
Since I started blogging, I’ve come to appreciate how impactful a few kind words can be and I’ve been inspired to pay it forward. And we know that compassion increases happiness. What a rush!
Sending a thank you note or a brag or for an employee
On a recent metro ride, a driver, who I’d heard before, used a lovely mix of humor, sarcasm and practicality to keep his passengers in line. I can only assume that the outcomes used to evaluate employees don’t include rider entertainment, so how would his boss know how great he is? So I sent feedback, including the line and the time we arrived at a particular station. I don’t know what will happen with that feedback, but I know that I feel good.
Send a fan letter
I’m not talking about artists who’ve gone platinum or authors who hang out on the bestseller list. While those folks are obviously deserving of praise, they’re already getting a lot of affirmation in the form of sales and probably other fan letters. I’m talking about lesser known folks. I read an article with such a clever turn of phrase that I immediately purchased and devoured a book by Ben Dolnick. The book was so enjoyable that I wrote a fan letter. What was really fun, was that I got a note back thanking me for my thoughts and telling me how appreciated they were. So I got feedback on my feedback!
Write a thank you note
The coffee shop crew near my home are amazing. They’re relentlessly friendly, even early in the morning, they’re fast and the drinks are consistently perfect. It’s become an important pick-me-up before some work days, and I realized that I’d come to rely on the interaction and treating myself to paying for a beverage—it wasn’t that I couldn’t make it at home, but doing something for myself helped me feel better. So I wrote a note addressed to the crew letting them know that their quality of work didn’t go unnoticed and that it meant a lot to me. It’s not something I could get feedback on, since I just left it on the counter without contact info, but I’d like to think it made someone’s day.