Making a Better World…and How Giving Recognition Contributes to Our Success

August 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment  

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher, lecturer, essayist and poet who lived from 1803-1882.  He is one of the most often quoted speakers and writers of all time and I regularly defer to his wisdom.  The one thing that all of these skills and occupations have in common is great thinking- as they say, you are your thoughts!  So it is well worthwhile to consider that he described success this way:

“To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;  To know that even one life has lived better because you have lived…

this is to have succeeded”.

I find this a most provocative message and one that  every now and then compels me to question ‘what am I doing that is making this a better world’?  Just today I was out picking up trash in the ditch (I’m a volunteer on our municipal clean up committee and have taken responsibility for a two mile stretch of rural roadway);  as I bagged the scattered debris I thought about where all of the garbage was coming from and why – someone is pitching it out of their vehicles as they roar by.  And in doing so,  they have no apparent thought for the ‘garden patch’ that they should be cultivating according to the very wise Mr. Emerson.

Some people are just into throwing garbage around!

And the thought crossed my mind that you can either go through life being helpful and showing others a positive example, or you can be one of the ‘unwashed’ as I like to call them, and be a person who contributes only garbage that others must find a way to clean up after.  I think recognition is like that in some ways also.

Many in our world are remiss in taking the recognition opportunities that come along…they see some ‘good stuff’ going on but fail to think about it much, and don’t get around to making any comment about it, most often to people who really, really deserve to know that they’ve done something wonderful and that someone else has noticed.

The marvelous thing about looking harder for the  positive things that happen daily all around you, and then giving recognition to others is that what gets recognized gets repeated…so by making a favorable comment about a good performance or a good behavior that you notice, you can be sure that it will be repeated in future- not only by that person but by others that hear your praise and by people who are in turn recognized by the person you encouraged with your recognition.

We can’t make the world better all at once, or all by ourselves- but we can make our world better! And by our actions to recognize others who are deserving, we can improve their world also.  Make a better world- recognize well!

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