January 20. The Craving for Appreciation

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” (William James)

Not just a desire, a craving to be appreciated. So strong was William James’ belief in this principle that he not only called it the deepest, but he used the strong word “craving” to describe how much people want to feel appreciated. As I have mentioned before, I was a Dale Carnegie instructor for ten years. A major part of that course is the teaching of his 30 Human Relations Principles. Second on the list is “Give honest and sincere appreciation”.

I know that a person’s burning need for appreciation is the factor that most motivates them in life. I know it for myself, and I see it in my family, friends and coworkers. People want to know that the things that they do are noticed and sincerely acknowledged – not just with a rote “thank you”, but with something heartfelt.

I do my best to remember this always in my work and at home. This quote from the great William James inspires me to redouble my efforts to show those around me, in specific ways, that I appreciate what they do. Not just what they do for me, but what I see them doing for others, or even just because it is the right thing to do. And, not just with a simple “thank you”, but by telling them specifically what it is that they do that is appreciated and why.

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