Expressing gratitude, part 2

Most of the people that I work with do great work most of the time. (No, this is not about to turn into a back-handed compliment.) That means they make a few mistakes, or do a few things where I feel feedback would be helpful. Abitrarily, let’s say 90% of their work is good, and there’s 10% that I think could be improved.

…and so I start providing feedback on that 10%.

What does the other person experience? 100% negative feedback from me!

It doesn’t matter how good I might get at delivering great feedback, and helping them improve. If the only feedback I give is on the 10% of their work that I feel could be improved… ouch!

Instead, I need to think about the entirety of that person’s work. My feedback should be roughly in the same proportions as their work. This enables me to convey both the direct pieces of feedback and my assessment of the ratio in the whole. Continuing with the 90%/10% example, I should be giving vastly more positive reinforcement. That other person should be hearing vast amounts of positive feedback. This is not limited to people who work “for” you. This can be applied to everyone you have regular contact with and is relatd to my earlier post about, “if you see something, say something.”

There is a benefit for myself as well: If I’m only giving negative feedback, (focusing on that 10% as it were,) then it’s going to feel as if everything I encounter all day is negative. If I instead focus on increasing my ability to first notice that 90% of everything is great stuff, and then communicate that outwardly to the others, then it’s going to feel as if everything I encounter all day is positive. Since focusing on the negative stuff is one of my biggest problems, this is fertile ground indeed.

What’s your perception of what you encounter and does the feedback you give reflect that?

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Expressing gratitude

What if you, whenever people did good stuff for you, you let them know they had a positive effect on you? You might have to come up with a unique way of saying it if you want to make explicit that you aren’t saying “I owe you”. We’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader.  

~ J. Hazard, from https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ctBCPaD3yYimEHXPu/magic-is-dead-give-me-attention

Somewhen around 2005 was the trough of my expression of gratitude. Having now spent increasing time with this radical new notion of “expressing gratitude” I can say for sure… that I really need to keep working on it.

I’ve been stingy with positive reinforcement for a loong time. As I’ve begun to explicitly practice the habit of expressing gratitude, externally to other people, the results have been obvious and beneficial. My current intention is work on lowering my resistence to expressing gratitude. The most recent way I’ve been reinforcing the habit is to hold in mind a common mantra which I’ve repurposed: If you see something, say something.

I’ve found three ways that I’ve been practicing expressing more gratitude. There are others, obviously, but these are the three I’m currently practicing.

The first way plays out in direct conversation. While discussing one topic, my mind produces a tangential thought about something positive this person did on some unrelated topic. Spurred on by, “if I see something, say something,” the practice is then to mention that positive, tangential thing at the next opportunity in the conversation. Loong ago, I’d have let those tangential thoughts go by, not wanting to interrupt our discussion.

In short: Simply express gratitude now.

The second way is more subtle. Since those random thoughts of gratitude-moments-past are coming up today, I didn’t notice them in the past, or I suppressed expressing them in the moment. This reminds me to be more vigilant looking for the opportunities to express gratitude.

In short: Get better at noticing opportunities to express gratitude in the current moment.

The third way is to make a conscious effort to go looking for missed opportunites to express gratitude. If I have a meeting planned with someone, when I’m preparing I can make the small effort to think of a few opportunities I’ve missed.

In short: Practice actively looking for opportunities to express gratitude.

tl;dr: Duh, Craig. Simply express gratitude.

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Gratitude

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/18/opinion/gratitude-sickness-health.html

I am left with one thing: my ordinary, present self who is as empty-handed as he was the day before diagnosis — no better equipped for the ensuing battles of life, no better shielded from pain he will yet face. And it is not just heroic pain. It is the hurt of parking tickets, the ache of commuting, the grief of deadening routine — small pains to which I was immune while they were eclipsed by cancer. But that moon has since passed.

~ Philip Garrity

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