[This is one of a series of 30-Day Experiments to do this year instead of New Year’s resolutions.]
One of the most powerful, and most overlooked, opportunities you have to make the world a better place is through your daily interactions. And that’s what this 30-Day Experiment is all about.
How often do you have a positive thought about someone – maybe you think a co-worker made an excellent point in a meeting, or you admire how the barista at your local coffee shop handled a difficult customer, or you just like someone’s shirt – and it never makes its way out of your brain. They never have any idea that someone was seeing them in a positive light.
Collectively, we’re swimming in a sea of unexpressed, brain-bound compliments. Imagine the impact if even a portion of those compliments were set free.
So here’s your experiment. For 30 days, pay attention to the positive thoughts you have about people. As you notice the positive observations, pick at least one a day to share as a random compliment with the person in question.
Some recent examples that I have noticed:
- Funny sense of humor
- Beautiful tattoo
- Amazing smile
- Bravery to take the risk to do something outside their comfort zone
- Great self-expression through personal style
- Warmth, humor, and friendliness, making people feel like they belong here (the baristas at the coffee shop where I’m writing this)
- Making a generous and compassionate comment
Start with family and friends if you need to get comfortable with it, but challenge yourself to give compliments to people you don’t know as well too (the clerk at the checkout stand at the grocery store, the guy at the table next to you in the coffee shop, a fellow passenger on the bus).
If you start diggin’ it, ratchet up up the compliment quota. Give two a day, or three, or hell, just let ’em rip any time they come up!
When I started doing this, I noticed two things. First, I was more aware of the positive thoughts and I started automatically looking for them. Second, it felt good to give someone a compliment, and third, it felt good to see that compliment land. You just never know what kind of impact it’s going to make on someone’s day.
If it feels awkward to just give someone a compliment out of the blue, preface it with this: “I’m doing a 30-Day Experiment where I’m letting the compliments that pop into my head out into the open. And this is the compliment that just popped into my head about you.” That gives some context to it.
If you decide to take this 30-Day Experiment on, keep us posted here on how it goes!
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