How to Praise the Right Way?

To share our sincere praise to someone is the best way to make them like us and listen and adhere to our requests. But delivering the praise has multiple aspects to it, that we are not normally taught. While it is of no need to mention a list of benefits of praising someone, delivering it incorrectly, can backfire badly. So let us look at various aspect of delivering praise.

How to Praise?

Praise Sincerely:

Like a fake smile, a fake praise is often easily deciphered by the person who it is addressed to. Even if it works in the short term and you derive benefits, in the long term, you are bound to be caught someday and it may really badly backfire.

Be Specific:

Some people are not very used to being praised and often get defensive when we praise.

Generic Praise: “Hey, Looking good !!”
Defender: “It’s nothing. I didn’t even get a hairdo. I look horrible”

Although it is really the ‘defender’s lack of confidence or fishing for more praise is the real problem here. We may be able to avoid it by being specific and personal about the praise.

Specific Praise: “You are looking great in this dress. The colour compliments your skin and makes you face glow

Disclaimer: This compliment is very contextual and personal. Please be sure the person and occasion of complimenting is appropriate.

Praise Effort over Results:

The contrast in the approach is most vivid while we praise children.

Praising Result: “You did the math homework all by yourself. You are really a smart kid.”

What the child thinks: “To be considered smart, I must do the work without seeking any help from anyone.” and as a result unintentionally jeopardizes his/her learning.

Yes!! You got it !!

Appreciating Effort: “I like it that you have put the work to understand your math concepts well. If you have any questions on the homework I’d be happy to review it with you. ”  If the child did not really had to put in a lot of work to get it done, you may even say “If the homework was too easy for you and you are not learning anything new by working on it, please let me know, I can give you a few more. I know that you love a good challenge.”

The statement emphasizes on the fact that focus here is on learning and getting better rather than outdoing anyone.

When to Praise

Praise ASAP:

Praise must be delivered instantly or at least in the next available opportunity. A delay in giving a deserved praise, may often make the other person feel isolated and not appreciated.

For Eg: “I loved the points in your presentation today. Your research was thorough and deliberate. The client definitely seemed impressed. And so were we. Good Job.”

Most often when we put it off, we either forget or the incident is long over by the time you do remember.

How Not to Praise:


“Finally one finished homework/report in time. Great Job”

Any sarcastic praises injure your long term credibility with the person. This is applicable universally except probably in Britain, where sarcasm seems to be their second language.

British and Sarcasm

Lowering standards:

“Oh, you took bath and got ready in time. Wonderful Job boy. You are such a sweetheart”

what the boy thinks: “Why is mom making it a big deal as if I never take bath !!”

What you can try instead: An Acknowledgement.

“Thank you for getting ready in time Son.  It makes mamma’s day so much easier”

For simple everyday things, acknowledge the effort made by your child, rather than going overboard. This applies to your work as well as, “Thank you for sending the payment by the due date.” etc

Inappropriate Praise:

If a manager compliments a subordinate on his/her looks rather than on his/her work, it can be deemed inappropriate. If you are in a position of power it may be even be considered as harassment. So make your praises contextual and appropriate.

Conditional Praise:

Women get this a lot. “For a women, you are very bold”

“Considering where you come from, you are very brainy”

You probably totally meant that as a compliment. But I promise you that no one in their right senses is going to take it that way. The insult in the ‘where you come from (which could be a reference to race, sex, ethnicity , geographical area) significantly over powers the compliment. So last time you tried to compliment someone and they walked away huffing and puffing, this is probably what you did.

Don’t mix it with criticism:

If your real intention to praise is only to follow it up with a criticism. This method is called the sandwich feedback and is effectively used in certain places. However, using praise to lower the blow of criticism often backfires in  many ways. The feedback received is often not effectively delivered due to the confused messaging.

Bad Example Eg: “You are a very sincere hard working person. But you have been coming late to work lately and I may have to issue a memo if this continues

Try Instead, Eg: “I notice that you have lately been having difficulties in your in time. Is there anything you want to tell me…”

Praise when you have to praise. Provide feedback when you have to do so. Try not to mix both.

Don’t make it about yourself:

“Your presentation was so good. So confident. If I had to present in front of so many people, I’d have been sweating and shivering. Last time when I had to present my report…”

This moment is not about you.  So don’t make it about yourself. Try Instead,

“I loved the way you presented confidently. I have loads to learn from you”


A good praise can further a relationship and bring many desired results if done right. You can start practicing by leaving me a comment or response 🙂

Why doctors and lawyers ‘practise’

Since 2015, I have been a software freelancer. I have been frequently asked about where I work, to which I respond that I work from home. I am asked if I have my own business and company. My reply is that I work alone on contract with companies and that I don’t own a company and do not have employees. I explain that opportunities of such nature are abundant in fields like photography, carpentry and weaving, and thankfully in software.

To my own surprise, I have often caught myself replying, “Not a business, I’d rather say I have my own practice*.” I have heard several individual professionals, mainly doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants who use the term ‘practice’ to describe their occupation. It is a wonderful term in my opinion, something that perfectly describes almost everyone’s occupation, whether working alone or with a company, whether a sweeper or the prime minister.

Continue reading Why doctors and lawyers ‘practise’

Book Summary: Mindset – Carol Dweck


Title: Mindset, the new psychology of success
Author: Carol Dweck
Publisher: Random House
ISBN-10: 1400062756
ISBN-13: 978-1400062751
Buy from: |

This book has been the most embarrassing book for me to read ever, for it showed me the mirror. In effect it was deeply revealing, it gave me a perspective into how I had been looking at several things. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research has been the most revealing and explained many of my bizarre moments of life.

Personality Mindsets: Fixed Vs Growth

People with fixed mindsets believe that abilities are frozen in stone. Most of their efforts are spent in trying to prove themselves. People with Growth Mindsets believe that we can change and improve with practice.

Mindset - Growth Vs Fixed
Mindset – Growth Vs Fixed

Continue reading Book Summary: Mindset – Carol Dweck

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Book summary: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Title: Atomic Habits
Author: James Clear
Publisher: Penguin Random House
ISBN-10: 1847941834
ISBN-13: 978-1847941831
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There is a myth and an all-pervading belief that in order to transform your life, we need to transform our behaviour in a major way and need to do is fast. To lose weight, people go on crash diets overnight. Alcoholics and addicts go cold turkey. People with no previous experience with workouts join the gym and work out so hard on day 1 that they get sore muscles.

James Clear offers us a better solution in his book Atomic Habits. He argues that in order to transform our life and add new behaviour, it is necessary to take tiny steps and let the habits build and then change one thing at a time.

Continue reading Book summary: Atomic Habits by James Clear

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How to Retire early?

Retirement of the Earlier Generation:

In 1990, life expectancy in our country was at 58 years, while the retirement age was between 55 – 60 yrs in various state and central government jobs. Many people died before they retired. We had movies on withdrawal symptoms after retirement and how the erstwhile who’s who coped up with inactivity and lack of importance. Since that generation had steady pension and a huge Provident Fund, usually financial trouble was not one of the problems they faced post retirement. This was despite being predominantly a single income family with several dependents.

Retirement Funding
Retirement Funding

Continue reading How to Retire early?

Getting your tasks done every day

Have you ever been through one of those days where nothing seems to get done? You sit to work on a complicated algorithm and just cannot get your mind or the code working. You may be unable to finish a financial report because you are getting distracted by a mind that’s unwilling to do maths at the moment. You start doing your homework, but give up midway.

Similar things happen with physical tasks too. You may not feel like going to the gym after a tired office commute. You feel too lethargic to go to the supermarket and buy the weekly groceries.

How can we get things done with more success rate throughout the day? By planning your day better and scheduling activities such that your mind, body and your environment encourage you to perform your tasks. Here’s how. Continue reading Getting your tasks done every day

The Fairy Tale Nightmare

Fairy Tales of my Childhood

The fairy tales I listened to in my childhood were  like ‘Snow White and Seven Dwarfs’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘The Frog Prince’. In all cases the female protagonist was a beautiful young princess and her life mission was to find the man of her dreams. She succeeds in doing so and then they live happily ever after.

I found the stories sweet and adorable as a kid. But as an adult I can look back and see how each of these stories have ridiculously defined my life by one event – finding the (right) guy. I just have to look pretty and be patient to accomplish this life mission.

Snowwhite was in love with 'love' ??!!
Snowwhite was in love with ‘love’ ??!!

Continue reading The Fairy Tale Nightmare

Do’s and don’ts before a good night’s sleep

Insomnia. It was something that troubled me throughout childhood and even during my teen years. I remember as a child when I used to go to bed before my parents did. But I would fall asleep much later when all the lights went out and everyone was fast asleep. My sister had no such problems. She would be as good as knocked out within 2 minutes. I still don’t know what kept me awake during school days. Surely it was not homework or exams. I was good at those. My mood would be tranquil, but I just couldn’t fall asleep.

During my teen years and early twenties, I stayed awake for football matches in Europe, basketball matches halfway across the globe and late night movie binges. Thankfully, even in those days I realised that studying late into the night was not my cup of tea, so studies were part of my daytime routine.

I have come a long way ever since, tracking what kept me awake and what catalysed my sleep. These days I can’t keep my eyes open after 10:30 pm. In a previous post, I talked about a wind-down routine to set the tone for a good night’s sleep. I even have a post where I challenge you to do 10 things in the morning before you touch your electronic device. And in yet another post, I talked about the advantages of making do’s and don’ts lists. Today’s post combines the ideas from those three posts and lists some things that you SHOULD do for a good night’s sleep and things that you SHOULDN’T.

Continue reading Do’s and don’ts before a good night’s sleep

Book Summary: Left Brain, Right Stuff by Phil Rosenzweig

Title: Left Brain, Right Stuff
Author: Phil Rosenzweig
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN-10: 1781251363
ISBN-13: 978-1781251362
Buy on: |


Swiss author Phil Rosenzweig talks about two modes in which our brain operates: deliberation and implementation. The process of deliberation is for carefully considering options and their outcomes. Pros and cons are weighed, the best and worst outcomes are sized up and a decision is made. With a decision made, the process of implementation is when you stop deliberating, focus on the tasks and get them done. Rosenzweig offers that the two modes are divided into the two sides of the brain: left and right. Continue reading Book Summary: Left Brain, Right Stuff by Phil Rosenzweig

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Book Summary: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

 Click to Buy here in or

I had read this book a long time back and decided to re-read it now. It is surprising how many insights I received in the process. So I have decided to summarize this classic and follow it up with all the books in the series.

Only Rule For Getting Rich:

Know the difference between Assets and Liabilities. Buy Assets.

An Asset is something that puts money in my pocket.
A Liability is something that takes money out of my pocket.

As someone from an accounting background, for a long time I was resistant about the above definition. But now when I am training myself to think like an investor, this is the only definition that makes sense. The only practical way to evaluate opportunities.

Mind Your Business:

Your profession is not your business. While working your day job, work on a side hustle, a business that you can create an asset for you over the long term.

Learn from Mistake
Learn from Mistake

To Become Rich: Obtain Financial Intelligence

Financial IQ is made from four broad areas of expertise

  1. Accounting
  2. Investing
  3. Understanding Markets
  4. Law

Rich spend time understanding the above and use it to their advantage to retain the money earned by them.

Financial Literate but not Rich:

Five Reasons why a Financially Literate person is not Rich:

  1. Fear
  2. Cynicism
  3. Laziness
  4. Bad Habits
  5. Arrogance

Personally I think, it is just Fear, which wears different masks. Like the Fox that called the grapes sour, we express our Fear in different ways such as cynic (disbelief, to avoid taking action), Laziness (Fear of rejection disguised as Laziness), Bad Habits (Not following through), arrogance (Ego+Ignorance)

Rich Invent Money

Rich take calculated risks, where they have a big probability of winning with limited loss (Stocks/Options), or a small probability of winning with massive gains  (Eg: Venture Capital)

Work to Learn
Work to Learn

Work to Learn: Don’t work for money

Look at your Job as a place to learn and hone your skills, rather than a way to earn a living. Your focus will be how to make yourself a better version of you which would automatically make you a more valuable employee, if you are learning on the job skills.

Even if you have read the book before, I suggest you to read again. This is one of the books that grows on you and gives you new lessons as you step up your game.

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