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  • John F. Edwards

You Have Super-Powers. Use them wisely.

13 January 2016

#compliment #encouragement #guidance #inspiration #motivation

You Have Super-Powers.

There are super-powers inherent within us to influence each other.  How did you feel the last time someone at work told you that you were doing an excellent job?  What was your reaction when you heard that someone you just met was impressed with you?  Did you smile the last time you were publicly rewarded or commended for a particular task or accomplishment?

Some of our essential and inherent human needs are linked to recognition and acknowledgement.  When I worked with a group associated with the late Texas Governor John Connally, the president of one of his national companies was a gentleman who really understood people and had the professional track record to prove it.  We were sitting in his office in Texas when he proclaimed, “John, you and I don’t mind being told to (get lost), but we sure do hate to be ignored.”  That one sentence, submitted so long ago, has provided an additional insight for me about people which aligned with many of the things I studied as a freshman Psychology Major in college.  As human beings, many of our behaviors are driven by:

  • personal advancement and growth

  • personal positive recognition and acceptance

  • personal sense of belonging

     We all have a powerful sense of belonging that drives a need for feedback from members of our in-group or desire-group.  The in-group is defined by our need to be with others who we closely relate to in some significant way.  This can be race, sex, ethnicity or any other strong identifier.  Our desire-group consists of a group that we want to be in however we perceive that we are not yet included.  This drive for “tribal connectivity” often serves as a motivator or catalyst for certain behaviors.  That is one of the prime reasons that peer pressure can still exist even as we become adults.  On the positive side of this equation is our ability to use this need to be connected to others as a way to save the universe (‘cause use of that kind of language plays well with the whole super-hero theme). 

In order to get you super-hero cape, you must develop the habit of complimenting at least one person every day.  It forces you to recognize positive attributes or components of those around you.  It has dramatic effects on your own outlook and thought process and it yields remarkably powerful results.  Imagine the effect a compliment has on a young lady when you tell her that based on her kid’s behavior, she must be a terrific mother.  Or try telling the young man that his suit is quite sharp and flattering.  Or share with someone the fact that admire the way they handled that challenging situation.  There is more power in those sentences than you can be harvested in a nuclear submarine (exaggeration allowed because of the whole super hero thing).  Use your arsenal of compliments appropriately and only with sincerity.  The negative effects of using powerful statements like that in a false manner can have a backlash that will most certainly rock your boat.  It is of utmost importance that you believe with great sincerity, that which you are sharing.  Be assured that if your foundation is one of truth, the positive implications will still take root.


When someone like you comes along wielding the power of positive reinforcement, be prepared for an initial reaction that is guarded.  This means that it is also imperative that your compliments are not a prelude to requesting something.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy this assignment is linked to the days when I more frequently attended business lunches.  Whenever we have a personable and professional wait staff, I adopted a strategy I learned from someone else which is to leave notes on the restaurant copy of the bill.  If our server has really exemplified service above what we may typically get, then I take great pleasure in leaving a few sentences for the management.  My note may allude to the fact that if they continue to do such a remarkable job in hiring staff members like "Susie" for example, then I will be forced to make this my favorite restaurant.  I may mention how I plan to spread the word to my associates (and I do), and I will always ask for that particular person when I return. 


So today try and wield your super-power.  Share something genuine and complimentary with one of your colleagues.  You may be amazed at what your super-powers might do to someone who isn’t having a good day or week.  Say something nice to someone else and you will be amazed at how much it will cheer you up.  Write a note to someone who hasn’t heard a compliment from you in a long time.  Aren’t we all bombarded with sufficient sources of negative inputs daily? 


You have the super-power.  The power to be all the difference that someone may need.

     Remember that the place to start to change the world is in your heart.

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