Over twenty years ago I was in a video store with my husband and young children checking out films, a very ordinary event. A man in a straw hat walked by me with a big smile and said, “What a handsome family!”
The man, a stranger to me, surely forgot about the remark by the time he drove out of the parking lot. Yet the compliment meant so much to me that I still recall it. It costs so little to make an enthusiastically positive statement to another person–a few seconds. Yet the comment may make that person’s day, even be remem-bered by the person years later.
I have tried to continue his surprising act of praise. When a sales clerk has done a good job I have asked for the manager and praised the clerk to her manager. When I have been helped with a difficult insurance claim by a claims processor, I have asked for the person’s supervisor’s address and sent a letter of praise. Recently I read a report that had been written by a professional in another city eight years previously and was so impressed by it I tracked her down through a Google of her place of employment. I sent her an email commenting on what an excellent job she did. She was shocked with gratitude.
Look for an opportunity today to make a positive remark to a complete stranger–the bus driver, the store clerk, the worker who makes your deli sandwich. Record in a notebook what you did. Note the person’s reaction. How did you feel?