William James has been called “the father of American Psychology.” He was a trained physician and wrote voluminously. (Interestingly enough Ralph Waldo Emerson was his Godfather). He is most known for his self-trained work in psychology and philosophy. He is widely quoted 100 years after his death, and nothing he wrote is any more quoted that the powerful quotation that follows.
The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
— William James 1842-1910
Questions to Ponder
Do I agree with James?
If appreciation isn’t the deepest craving, what is?
How can I show my appreciation for others more?
- Show your appreciation for others more often.
- Find at least five ways to do this everyday.
- Don’t sleep tonight until you have done this in five small or large ways.
- Do it again tomorrow (and the next day) until it is your habit.
I believe James’ premise. And I believe that this truth, acted on, can make a difference in your success as a leader and your success in life. Consider this – as a leader we are in the business of influencing others to make choices and take actions that benefit both them and the organization, right?
In which case will we be a more successful influencer, when we are helping people get their needs met, or if we ignore their needs?
Pragmatism proves that former to be the case.
When you look for things to appreciate, you will find them. (So start looking).
When you think about ways to show that appreciation, they will come to you. But let me give you a very limited list to help jumpstart your thinking . . .
- Say “Thanks”
- Provide specific positive feedback
- Give people an opportunity to learn something new
- Show your trust in them
This very abbreviated list raises two important points – showing appreciation can come in formal and informal ways, and can come from words and actions.
If you are looking for ways to help you and others build habit of showing people appreciation and feeding this deep craving, you can check out our products at YouAreRemarkable.com.