Dale Carnegie

I once succumbed to the fad of fasting and went for six days and nights without eating.  It wasn't difficult.  I was less hungry at the end of the sixth day than I was at the end of the second.  Yet I know, as you know, people who would think they had committed a crime if they let their families or employees go for six days without food; but they will let them go for six days, and six weeks, and sometimes sixty years without giving them the hearty appreciation that they crave almost as much as they crave food.

When Alfred Lunt, one of the great actors of his time, played the lead role in Reunion in Vienna, he said, "There is nothing I need so much as nourishment for my self-esteem."

We nourish the bodies of our children and friends and employees, but how seldom do we nourish their self-esteem?  We provide them with roast beef and potatoes to build energy, but we neglect to give them kind words of appreciation that would sing in their memories for years like the music of the morning stars.

Paul Harvey, in one of his radio broadcasts, "The Rest of the Story," told how showing sincere appreciation can change a person's life.  He reported that years ago a teacher in Detroit asked Stevie Morris to help her find a mouse that was lost in the classroom.

You see, she appreciated the fact that nature had given Stevie a remarkable pair of ears to compensate for his blind eyes.  But this was really the first time Stevie had been shown appreciation for those talented ears.  Now, years later, he says that this act of appreciation was the beginning of a new life.  You see, from that time on he developed his gift of hearing and went on to become, under the stage name of Stevie Wonder, one of the great pop singers and songwriters of the seventies.

Some readers are saying right now as they read these lines, "Oh, phooey!  Flattery!  Bear oil!  I've tried that stuff.  It doesn't work--not with intelligent people."

Of course flattery seldom works with discerning people.  It is shallow, selfish and insincere.  It ought to fail and it usually does.  True, some people are so hungry, so thirsty for appreciation that they will swallow anything, just as a starving man will eat grass and fishworms. . . . In the long run, though, flattery will do you more harm than good.  Flattery is counterfeit, and like counterfeit money, it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it to someone else.

The difference between appreciation and flattery?  That is simple.  One is sincere and the other insincere.  One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out.  One is unselfish; the other selfish.  One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.

I recently saw a bust of Mexican hero General Alvaro Obregon in the Chapultepec palace in Mexico City.  Below the bust are carved these wise words from General Obregon's philosophy:  "Don't be afraid of enemies who attack you.  Be afraid of the friends who flatter you."

I am not suggesting flattery!  Far from it.  I'm talking about a new way of life.  Let me repeat.  I am talking about a new way of life.

If all we had to do was flatter, everybody would catch on and we should all be experts in human relations.

When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 percent of our time thinking about ourselves.  Now, if we stop thinking about ourselves for a while and begin to think of the other person's good points, we won't have to resort to flattery so cheap and false that it can be spotted almost before it is out of the mouth.

One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation.  Somehow, we neglect to praise our son or daughter when he or she brings home a good report card, and we fail to encourage our children when they first succeed in baking a cake or building a birdhouse.  Nothing pleases children more than this kind of parental interest and approval.

The next time you enjoy a meal at a restaurant, send word to the chef that it was excellently prepared, and when a tired salesperson shows you unusual courtesy, please mention it.

Every minister, lecturer, and public speaker knows the discouragement of pouring himself or herself out to an audience and not receiving a single ripple of appreciative comment.  What applies to professionals applies doubly to workers in offices, shops and factories and our families and friends.  In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation.  It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.

Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips.  You will be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit.

Pamela Dunham of New Fairfield, Connecticut, had among her responsibilities on her job the supervision of a janitor who was doing a very poor job.  The other employees would jeer at him and litter the hallways to show him what a bad job he was doing.  It was so bad, productive time was being lost in the shop.

Without success, Pam tried various ways to motivate this person.  She noticed that occasionally he did a particularly good piece of work.  She made a point to praise him for it in front of the other people.  Each day the job he did all around got better, and pretty soon he started doing all his work efficiently.  Now he does an excellent job and other people give him appreciation and recognition.  Honest appreciation got results where criticism and ridicule failed.

Hurting people not only does not change them, it is never called for.  There is an old saying that I have cut out and pasted on my mirror where I cannot help but see it every day:

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.

Emerson said:  "Every person I meet is my superior in some way.  In that, I learn of them."

If that was true of Emerson, isn't it likely to be a thousand times more true of you and me?  Let's cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants.  Let's try to figure our the other person's good points.  Then forget flattery.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.  Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise," and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime--repeat them years after you have forgotten them.

more on appreciation


welcome page - contents - gallery - obstacles - quotations
 the people behind the words - our current e-zine
 articles and excerpts - Daily Meditations, Year Two - Year Three

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation


Never pass up an opportunity to speak a kind word of appreciation.
There are six billion people on the planet, and 5.9 billion of them
go to bed every night starving for one honest word of appreciation.

Matthew Kelly



All contents Living Life Fully, all rights reserved.


HOME - contents - Daily Meditations - abundance - acceptance - achievement - action - adversity - advertising - aging - ambition
anger - anticipation - anxiety - apathy - appreciation - arrogance - art - attitude - authenticity - awakening - awareness - awe
balance - beauty - being yourself - beliefs - body - brooding - busyness - caring - celebration - challenges -
change - character
charity - children - choices - Christianity - coincidence - commitment - common sense - community - comparison - compassion
competition - complaining - compliments - compromise - confidence - conformity - conscience - contentment - control - cooperation
courage - covetousness - creativity - crisis - criticism - cruelty -  death - decisions - desire - determination - disappointment
discipline - discouragement - diversity - doubt - dreams - earth - education - ego - emotions - encouragement - enlightenment
enthusiasm - envy - eternity - ethics - example - exercise - experience - failure - faith - fame - family - fate - fathers - fault-finding
fear - feelings - finances - flowers - forgiveness - freedom - friendship - frustration - fun - the future - garden of life - gardening
generosity - gentleness - giving - goals - God - goodness - grace - gratitude - greatness - greed - grief - growing up - guilt - habit
happiness - hatred - healing - health - heart - helpfulness - home - honesty - hope - hospitality - humility - hurry - ideals - identity
idleness  - idolatry - ignorance - illusion - imagination - impatience - individuality - the inner child - inspiration - integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition - jealousy - journey of life - joy - judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge - language - laughter - laziness
leadership - learning - letting go - life - listening - loneliness - love - lying - magic - marriage - materialism - meanness - meditation
mindfulness - miracles - mistakes - mistrust - moderation - money - mothers - motivation - music - mystery - nature - negative attitude
now - oneness - open-mindedness - opportunity - optimism - pain - parenting - passion - the past - patience - peace - perfectionism
perseverance - perspective - pessimism - play - poetry - positive thoughts - possessions - potential - poverty - power - praise
- prejudice - pride - principle - problems - progress - prosperity - purpose - reading -recreation - reflection - relationships
religion - reputation - resentment - respect - responsibility - rest - revenge - risk - role models - running - ruts - sadness - safety
seasons of life - self - self-love - self-pity - self-reliance - self-respect selfishness - serving others - shame - silence - simplicity
slowing down - smiles -solitude - sorrow - spirit - stories - strength - stress - stupidity - success - suffering - talent
the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts - time - today - tolerance - traditions - trees - trust - truth - unfulfilled dreams - values
vanity - virtue - vulnerability - walking - war - wealth - weight issues - wisdom - women - wonder - work - worry - worship
youth - spring - summer - fall - winter - Christmas - Thanksgiving - New Year - America - Zen sayings - articles & excerpts
Native American wisdom - The Law of Attraction - obstacles to living life fully - e-zine archives - quotations contents
our most recent e-zine - Great Thinkers - the people behind the words


Make it a habit to tell people thank you.  To express your appreciation,
sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly
appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around
you.  Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.

Ralph Marston


We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!