Society has bred us to be eager for an acknowledgment from others. We work extra hard for the praise that comes from a job well done. And yet when one steps back from the daily striving, much of what we labor to accomplish is merely an illusion, as are the bon mots that come with it.
Pick a profession. How much is satisfying about the job, and how much is simply busywork? When the boss says “good work” on a power point presentation, does that overcome the inner suspicion that 12 hours spent unearthing stock photos of satisfied consumers was a waste of time?
To set a goal that doesn’t get you a pat on the head (and may never) takes courage, especially in a world where many people behave like the proverbial student waiting for the teacher to anoint them with a gold star.
Here’s an idea. Don’t rely on others to acknowledge your effort. Give yourself props, and lots of them. For example, tomorrow when you wake up, if you make it out of bed, give yourself a gold star. And another one for brushing your teeth. And another for making yourself breakfast. This way, you’ll be having a four-star day even before you leave the house!
Question: why did facebook create “likes” instead of gold stars? We recommend they change this to a more universally recognized system of praise.