The only way to get someone to do things for you is by making the other person want to do it.
Threatening to fire an employee or threatening and hitting a child will only work when our back isn’t turned. In other words, these methods have bad consequences.
So, how do we get someone to want to do things for us? How do we arouse an eager want? We give them what they want. What do people want? As Sigmund Freud explained, “Everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great or important.” In other words, people want to have sex or they want to feel great and important. Since we can’t give people sex willy-nilly, we make them feel great and important.
Making someone feel great and important is rarely done in our society nowadays. However, Lincoln did it. He said, “Everybody likes a compliment.” So did William James. He said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
When we feel great and important we do great and important things —like making a lot of money so we can give to charity or have our names be remembered.
For some, however, feeling important means being a criminal or acting sad and depressed to win the attention and sympathy of others. Some act like babies. Others will act sick for years so their parents or spouse can take care of them. Some may even go insane!
If people are willing to go insane to feel important, imagine what we can do by giving people honest appreciation and helping them feel important.
Dale Carnegie said that the following quote by Charles Schwab, the banking magnate, should be taught to kids and hung in every home in eternal bronze. I agree. Schwab said:
I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.
There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my appreciation and lavish in my praise.
In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world. I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism.
In other words, hurting people not only doesn’t change them. It’s never called for.
We crave appreciation as much as we crave food. Don’t forget that our co-workers, families and friends are human beings that hunger for appreciation. And how often do we nourish this self-esteem in others? We provide our families, friends, and employees with food for sustenance, but we neglect to tell them we appreciate them.
If we did this, it would sing eternally in their gentle hearts. They will cherish those words, treasure them and repeat them over and over for a lifetime. In fact, it could change their lives. As Etienne de Grellet said, “I shall pass this way but once, any good, therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
I’m not saying to flatter people. Flattery is insincere. It’s cheap praise. It’s selfish and false. It’s telling someone precisely what they think about themselves. It can be spotted even before it’s left our mouths. It does more harm good. What about appreciation? Now that’s sincere. It comes from the heart. It’s unselfish.
We think of ourselves, our accomplishments and our wants 95% of the time. If we would only stop thinking about ourselves and begin to think of others‘ good points we wouldn’t have to resort to flattery. As General Alvaro said, “Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.” And as King George V said, “Teach me neither to proffer nor receive cheap praise.”
So, forget flattery. Let’s figure out someone else’s good points.
Let’s give sincere and genuine appreciation even if the person’s action or being isn’t up to your standards. That’s a giver.
I’ll end with a quote that has forged my life since I was 18:
“Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” -Emerson
To your success,