Live simply, appreciate more


As compliments go, which of these would you pick?

‘New haircut?’

‘Nice haircut!’ (with a bright smile)

‘Nice cut. Looks great on you.’

Why is the last one more appealing? Every time, I hear a genuine compliment like that, it reminds me about the things I learnt in a workshop on ‘appreciation’.

My school had organised this workshop to help us learn to be more appreciative and count our blessings. Over the years, I forgot most of the other lessons, but remembered how to pay a compliment.

The trick is to focus on the person and what they did right. So instead of saying ‘Nice outfit’, I’d say, ‘I like how you mix and match’.

A daily compliment :

I did this little exercise for a few months — I complimented someone like this every day. Obviously, this made the other person feel a bit more special.

Not so obviously, at the end of the month, I learnt to look for something good.  Wanting to say something nice everyday made find things to say something nice about. Nowadays, we read reams of books and articles on positive thinking. I am going to start being nice every day to at least one person.

It is like saying ‘Thank you’ :

Would you thank your daughter for passing a bottle of water across the table? Your student for cleaning the black board? Your maid for picking up a book from the floor for you? Your employee for turning in a report you asked for?

Why should you? Isn’t it something they are supposed to do?

We hardly ever say thank you for the little things and most Americans say it all the time. They even tip people who cut their hair, drive their cabs and clean their homes.

No matter how big or small the gesture, thanking your child, student, team mate or spouse never hurts. It is a small courtesy that goes a long way. It is not so much about good manners as it is with Americans, but about learning to value people. And hopefully teaching our kids too.

I am going to take nothing and nobody for granted. I am going to start small with ‘Thank you’.

When I tried these exercises as a teen, they helped me look for the silver lining. Then life happened. The lessons were history. I hope this history repeats itself.

Live Simply is a series of experiences that have taught me to try and live simply.  Can I manage to live simply? I don’t know. But, I intend to explore the possibility and I invite you to be a part of my journey.

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