How to take a compliment?

We often work hard to get noticed. Dress up well to get attention. But many times we are uncomfortable when finally the hard work pays off and attention is showered on us. We deny, deflect and feel uncomfortable with the attention and praise. It is surprising yet true, that compliment more than insults unnerve us and take us by surprise.

Lets look at what are the appropriate ways to take a compliment

Accept and say ‘thank you’

Often ‘Thankyou’ with a smile is the most sincere way to accept a compliment. You may elaborate on the thanks but never negate the acceptance.

Compliment: “That’s an excellent presentation. You really owned the crowd.

Bad response: “Thanks. But i forgot a few points in between. I think I could have done a lot better.

Good response: “Thank you.
Better response: “Thank you. I am glad you liked it
Thank you. I really worked hard on it and am very happy to know I got through to the audience

It’s not about you: Part of the whole syndrome

I had often been part of huge organising committees. Usually on the last day of the event, somebody gets hold of me and says a very sincere, heart felt and sometimes even a teary eyed thank you. It often leaves me speechless, not because the event did not deserve the compliment but I was such a small part of the huge event, I feel undeserved it on accept on behalf of everyone that really made the event happen.

But I realised, to them I am someone that represents the event team and hence the event itself. The compliment giver gets great satisfaction when I accept it with humility  on behalf of the team, rather than trivialising my role in their experience and deflecting the compliment. It, after all, is not about me.

Giving credit where it is due

Leaders often face the heat of team failures as well are heaped with praises for a work delivered by the team. A true leader never misses the opportunity to share the compliment with his/her team.

My best managers always ensured we heard back from the clients directly or through them when the client was appreciative of the team’s work. Needless to say the best managers never had much trouble retaining talent. The team members often went over and beyond the call of duty to assist such managers. I had the fortune of working with several of them.

Backhand compliment

A backhand compliment is a compliment that also carries with it an insult or a snide remark. We  hear this from friends and family and often leaves one fuming.

A bad compliment
A bad compliment

Eg: You look really nice in this dress. Why don’t you dress up like this more often.
Bad Response: ‘You are hardly the person to comment on anyone’s dress sense.’
Good Response: ‘Thank you for the compliment on my dress.’

In the bad response, the receiver ignores the compliment and focuses only on the snide remark. In the good response, the receiver ignores the snide remark and focuses solely on the compliment.

Ignore and respond tactically. It is better if you ignore the snide remark mentally as well and not just for the response.

Inappropriate Praise:

Women face a lot of inappropriate praise at work.

“Hey beautiful/ sexy” may be appropriate in a date but never in a work context. In this case, it is best not to  ignore. Ignoring may be misunderstood as docile acceptance or even a welcome. It is better to appropriately address it upfront and as early as possible.

Good response: “As my manager/colleague, I’d be more interested in hearing your inputs on my work rather on my dressing. Let’s stick to it”

Even though you may come sometimes across as rude, people will respect you for establishing boundaries upfront.

Conclusion

Accepting a compliment with grace makes both the receiver and the giver feel good.  It’s not that hard. Give it a try. Why don’t you start practising it with leaving a little comment below 🙂

Advice and Feedback – When to ignore?

We saw how to give praise and Feedback the last few weeks. In the next couple of weeks, lets look at how to receive them and what to do with it. When and what to consider and what not to ?

We seek advice and feedback often when we are unsure of our future course of action. Sometimes people add relevant perspectives that we had never considered. They challenge the way we look at our world and bring clarity. Sometimes they leave us even  more confused and are best ignored. But  how do we know when to do what? Am I ignoring an advice because it makes me uncomfortable or if it is not relevant to me?

Continue reading Advice and Feedback – When to ignore?

How to give feedback the right way?

Providing feedback the right way is a critical part of the job of a parent, teacher, manager, friend, customer etc. Feedback provided the right way can help one to deepen relationships and become better at tasks at hand. A botched up feedback can turn a reluctant person into a rebel, beginner struggles into permanent disinterest and wasted talent. Last time we looked at ways to keep people motivated through right praise, let us know look at a even more vital aspect of sharing feedback the right way.

When to give Feedback:

Only when appropriate:

When your spouse is asking you about her new haircut, she is looking for validation and not feedback. It’s not much different from when your 5 year old artist shows his new painting. Distinguish between validation seeking and feedback seeking and act accordingly.

Continue reading How to give feedback the right way?

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.

Continue reading How to Praise the Right Way?

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: Amazon.in | Amazon.com

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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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: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

 Click to Buy here in Amazon.in or Amazon.com

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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What 10 things will you do before you touch your electronic screen today?

Are you ready? In this post, I am going to give you a challenge harder than quitting smoking or attempting a diet. I want you to wake up in the morning and do 10 activities, that’s right, 10, that don’t involve looking at an electronic screen, before you pick up your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. I don’t want you to do it everyday, but just ONE day EVERY week. No email peeking, no time check, no social media, no games, until 10 non-screen activities are finished. Are you up to it? Continue reading What 10 things will you do before you touch your electronic screen today?