The sweet magic of praise

“Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar,” said Benjamin Franklin, stressing the fact that seeing the good in others and being lavish in praising them is the one time tested high way to making and keeping friends in this world.

There is much positivity when praise is woven into the fabric of speech. Those who hold back on praise eventually end up friendless and lonely. As a thinker put it, “Praise is more valuable than blame.”


This insightful information on The Duke of Wellington drives home the importance of giving praise to others. The Duke, who was also the British military leader, had the distinction of defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. But he was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding and not one to shower his subordinates with compliment.


Yet, even Wellington realised that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age, a young woman asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Wellington without a moment’s hesitation replied, “I would give more praise!”


It is a known fact that one of the fundamental desires of a man is the need to be appreciated. It is human nature to want to be praised. In any situation when appreciation is given in abundance it can act as a catalyst in betterment.


“One thing scientists have discovered,” noted Thomas Dreier, “is that often-praised children become more intelligent than often-blamed ones. There is a creative element in praise.” Praise can encourage, enlighten and uplift people.


It is an armoury for anyone who wants to make friends, influence people and lead others. It acts as an essential ingredient for diluting a tense situation, eliminating hard feelings, removing apathy, building bridges of understanding and restoring harmony.


It is also interesting to note that, where praise is given in large measure, the giver is as much rewarded as the receiver, too. For, sooner or later, people are drawn to those who are generous in giving praise and compliments in their conversations. As O A Battista, the Canadian author observed, “Praise others in public and watch how your own reputation grows behind your back.”


A philosopher summed up the same idea succinctly, “The Chinese have a proverb that says - a bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. This also goes for verbal or written bouquets. Say something nice to someone and a bit of niceness will cling to you.

It is said that you cannot get something for nothing. You cannot give something for nothing, either. People who find good things to say about others will find others saying good things about them.”

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