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10 Ways to Overcome an Unhealthy Pursuit of Praise to Be Your Own Inspiration




Using praise as recognition isn’t a new concept. Look back to when you were in primary school and the number of gold star stickers for doing a good job on your homework. The childhood conditioning to expect positive reinforcement and for some, depended on it for success. Being constantly praised can be addictive. The danger in the love of being praised enables people to become conditioned to act a certain way to seek incentives. You become engrossed in seeking extrinsic motivation– the dangling carrot –  to deliver results.

You crave others “liking” your thoughts, photos and accomplishments. You experience an adrenaline rush to your brain, as you are fed praise you so desperately crave. It makes you feel a false sense of being more loved, connected than you are. People who attribute their results to environment or circumstances are viewed as having an external locus of control. You tend to believe you have little power or influence in your successes or failures.

People who view outcomes as being influenced by their own choices and action have an internal locus of control. You take responsibility for whatever happens and are more resilient in the face of ongoing change. You do anything for the simple satisfaction of accomplishment. You are driven by an internal desire to create value even when not asked of you.

Getting too much positive reinforcement can be crippling if constant praise is necessary to perform well. Let me share with you 10 ways to overcome an unhealthy pursuit of praise:

1. Be your own inspiration

Instead of waiting for another person to pat you on the back, keep your own file of accomplishments and kudos. Gather the evidence of how you met your specific goals through a time log as a way of tracking your accomplishments. When you need a boost, tap into your own line of credit and give yourself the gold star.

2. Give all the credit away

Celebrating someone else’s success or giving away praise to a group of peers, creates ripples within the workplace. Another way is to ask one of your team members for help. Without realizing it, you are offering praise by showing respect for someone’s knowledge and experience by acknowledging that you trust their judgement on a task.

3. Accountability is the magic

Invest time in conducting an accountability self-assessment. Rate yourself on each of the statements to determine whether you have an internal or external locus of control. “I am responsible for my learning to be successful, my manager should provide me all the information l need to do my job, my colleague’s behavior prevents me from performing exceptionally in my role and my commitment is the driver of my success”.

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

4. Upgrade your standards

Eliminate the need for external praise by setting personal goals and standards. Your personal accomplishments build your self-worth and encourage you to take on more challenges. Company leaders take notice on your professional strengths and how you drive results. Spend time with mentors exploring how you can improve your work habits

5. Praise is like sugar

You gorge on the chocolate chip biscuits, the Nutella laden pizzas and fairy floss to satisfy your hardwired cravings. Social media is the same. With every “like” and retweet, every selfie, share or filter, you are overfeeding your mind as you walk around with a boundless source of praise, taking a bite every single day.

Today, the praise bar is so low that the feedback you get is meaningless, but you want it anyway. You crave praise that requires little energy to acquire. No deep thought or real effort. The more you get, the less you feel it and the more you seek to attain the satisfaction.

6. Escape the Willy Wonka land of praise

Praise isn’t always a bad thing. When you aren’t inundated with praise every day for every little thing, it means more when you finally do get it. You work harder for it and its quality rises exponentially. Praise earned is richer and more satisfying than praise thoughtlessly given away. Disconnect from social media for 2 days and see how you feel. Reassess how you use your time and what sort of praise you truly value.

7. Define what you what to achieve

Investing in what you want to accomplish detracts from your need to seek constant validation from others. Define what your end of year review would say about you, perhaps write your own eulogy highlighting your achievements and turn them into goals. Break down your big widely audacious goal into doable steps and focus on the progress.

8. Trade in the flattering sidekick

Praise addiction can drive you to form connections with people who feed your ego and withhold honest feedback. Seeking people who think you are fabulous has limited use. Actively asking quality questions such as “what can l do better? What might l work on next time to take me to the next level?”, allows you to delve deeper in how you can add more value in the future.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

9. Small doses

What’s good for you in small doses can be bad for you if you have too much of it. Everything requires appropriate dosage. Over-praising can imply something is exceptional then that makes it the exception to what is within the range of normal or acceptable. Constantly praising you for not disobeying all the health and safety rules implies that disobeying these rules would be more normal for you. You don’t want healthy behavior to be exceptional.

10. Benchmark of excellence

Making a huge deal out of anything someone achieves or attempts, encourages praise addiction. Praising children for turning up to school, not being disruptive or completing their assignments is poor preparation for a life of real excellence as you turn ‘normal’ into excellent.

Genuine excellence thus loses its value. Focus on praising what is within the person’s control. For instance, praising someone on their commitment to hard work. It implies that success was something they could consciously influence. Highlighting how fabulous they are for completing something gives them no meaningful information about their contribution.

The right kind of praise at the right time with the right quantity can help you develop the habit of excellence. An uncontrolled diet of praise won’t do you or anyone else any favors.

What’s one thing strategy you can put in place to become your own inspiration?

Angela Kambouris used to work with high risk kids in the streets of Melbourne, now she has her own consultancy business and writes for large publications. As a leadership coach and business leader having spent over 20 years in the field of vulnerability and trauma, she has built a high-level career as an executive and transitioned into a business owner. She has spoken on stages and worked with thousands of people in self-development, leadership, mindset, human behavior and business. Love to travel, experience difference cultures and mastermind with leaders and expert authorities in personal development and business all over the world. Connect with her through her website or through her Facebook.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. meenakshi jha

    May 2, 2018 at 6:54 am

    i like your line praise is like a sugar. lol. but inspiratioal, i believe self-appreciation is the only solution to control the addiction of getting praised by others. i am too addicted but addiction is addiction afterall. its better to develop productive addiction which uplift us in overall way. i like this post very much.

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships



how to build better relationships
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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions



how to avoid failure
Image Credit: Pixabay

You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work



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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction



jim carrey
Image Credit: Maarten de Boer

You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)

But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet

Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?

Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:

1. You Have To Take Action

You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.

Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!

This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.

2. Double Down On What You Love

My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.

Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?

3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize

As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.

If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time. 

An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!

Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!

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