Did you know that 80% of the total amount of appreciation a person receives in their lifetime is received before the age of four?
It hurts my heart a bit, I think. Is that how it is? Is that the kind of world we live in? In my profession, I meet many different companies and organisations and it is striking how much focus is placed on "what we can do better". In every performance review, in every report, in every ambitious employee's head is the question "how can I get better?". And the centre of that question is usually about what I am bad at, my shortcomings, my weaknesses, my flaws, obstacles, problems and so on. This works in exactly the same way in the school world. When I have a performance review with my son, I have to find something he is bad at, or at least not good enough at, and write it down as a development point. It is then followed up.
If we look at our society today, we see the same focus on problems. We can easily get the impression that things are just getting worse and worse, when in fact the opposite is true! Have you seen "Don't be afraid" with Henrik Schyffert? That show is about exactly that, about politics right now, fear, xenophobia, the feeling that everything is getting worse. And that it's not true. But why do we go on like this and insist on seeing the world through such dark glasses? Why do we soak up the misery and seem to forget the positive things that are happening?
One explanation could be that we have a brain that originates from very far back in time. It has two basic states, closed and open. These states were cleverly developed many thousands of years ago to simply improve the chances of survival.
"Many corporate cultures and environments influence people to not dare to open up and instead feel threatened and become defensive."
When you are in the closed state, you use "fight, flight or play dead", and you do this every time you think you are in danger, which is many more times than when you are actually in danger. For survival reasons. So we live with a brain that has evolved to be more likely to be scared once too often than once too little. It's easy to think that you only get into this state if you meet a predator in the forest and really have to run away or play dead or something else drastic, but that's not how it works. We can get shut down several times a day, at the office, at home, in traffic and so on. And then you fight with words or body language. You can also escape verbally, or stay silent and keep everything inside yourself. It's not a nice state to be in and you don't have access to your full potential here. We all end up here regularly and we are all differently skilled at getting out of it quickly. Many people corporate cultures and environments influence people to not dare to open up and instead feel threatened and set up defences.
"When you are in the open state, you are receptive, warm, kind, loving, you are being your glorious self to the fullest. Here you're creative, inventive, collaborative, exactly the qualities that all businesses work hard to achieve."
When you are in the open state, you are receptive, warm, kind, loving, you are your glorious self to the fullest. Here you are creative, inventive, co-operative, exactly the qualities that all companies work hard to achieve. This state has also evolved for survival reasons and now it's all about being part of the pack. Without the herd, you die. Without human contact and closeness, we die. It's not enough to say "hello" and "thank you" to a bunch of people when you're working at the checkout in a supermarket. We need much more than that! We need real contact, we need to feel physical and mental closeness, participation. It doesn't matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert, everyone has a basic need for deep contact and connection.
"Well, the magic pill is called appreciation. Genuine appreciation has this amazing effect on us, it softens us, relaxes us, makes us receptive. It makes us strong and completely irresistible! Appreciation changes the world."
Man's greatest fear is not being able to join the herd. Think about that for a moment. Think about how it manifests itself in big and small ways. Think about your own fears and whether they could possibly be based on a fear of not being liked, of not being included. Every company, organisation or school should of course want people to be in an open state. As a matter of humanity and to realise their full potential. So... What do we do? How do we go from closed to open? Well, the magic pill is called appreciation. Genuine appreciation has this amazing effect on us, it softens us, relaxes us, makes us receptive. It makes us strong and completely irresistible! Appreciation changes the world.