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Key to Self-Improvement? Go Out of Your Way to Make Someone's Day

Posted by Brian Spence on Apr 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Career Advice, Compliment, Self-Improvement, Professional EtiquetteThroughout our lives most of us are on a continual path of self-improvement.  Everyone wants to make themselves better. They seek to learn new skills, improve their physical appearance, improve their health in ways they hadn't thought about before. However, what if the key to real change wasn't just improving your life? What if instead, you chose to focus on improving someone else's life?

It doesn't have to take a lot of energy, and it certainly doesn't have to be expensive (though there are certainly times when you could your financial means to improve someone else's day quite a bit). Regardless, even if you only have limited resources you can still use what you've got.  You might be surprised by how a few words can go a long way toward making someone's day.

This article has a lot to say on the subject. It lists a number of ways that you can brighten someone's day in ways that are seemingly inconsequential--and it focuses heavily on the power of praise. While there are plenty of opportunities you can find throughout your day to serve someone through your actions, the easiest--and often the most effective--are the opportunities that you might not even remember later.

When was the last time you took the time to compliment someone, especially someone you weren't looking to get anything from?

Whether it's a compliment to the kid at the counter who's dealt well with an irritating customer, as mentioned in the linked article, or a compliment to a server who has done an extraordinary job making sure that you got everything you needed at you meal, you might not think anything of it; but that might be the difference between a terrible day that leaves them down in the dumps and grumpy and a day when they hold their heads high.

Try it with your partner or with a close friend--pick just one thing to compliment about them and see how it changes their day. Don't be shallow, and don't issue the compliment just for the sake of issuing it.  Instead, be genuine, keep it real, and see how it changes their demeanor.  From there, expand your sphere of influence--compliment your co-workers, the person who makes your coffee in the morning, even the gas station attendant who went out of their way to take care of something for you. You might be surprised by the influence that you can have and - as a bonus - you will start to feel your own mood lifting as well.  When you are constantly looking for the positive in everyone around you, it's a lot harder to be grumpy--so you'll certainly see the benefits shining through in your own life.

Interested in learning about this and other related topics?  Visit the Self-Improvement and Productivity sections of the Staffing Plus Blog  

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