A power often underestimated. A gesture that elicits gratitude and enhances performance. A reinforcement resorted to frequently by effective leaders. An inexpensive token that fetches rich outcomes. A straw of motivation clutched by aspirants. Yet a commodity used sparingly by misers. Adulations.
Call it hyperbole or generalisation, people in power or relationships find the deed of uttering a genuine word of praise to a deserving individual as painful as parting with a pound of flesh to a blood sucking parasite. Adulations are often wasted by individuals to fan a person’s vanity or ego to win favours or by those who entertain ulterior motives. If only people knew that those who exalt themselves shall be humbled and those who humble themselves shall be exalted, there would be conflict free zones everywhere. Human relationships would be less strained if people learnt the art of being modest and swallow their pride long enough to say a kind or thoughtful word to those around them with sincerity.
When I observe a feline devouring milk with closed eyes, labouring under the illusion that it has avoided detection, I am reminded of people who think that by refusing to acknowledge others’ achievements or accomplishments, they could put an end to its very existence. How often have we seen the smile on a person’s visage vanish when stories of one’s success is narrated? How frequently have we seen people struggling to mask their envy with artificial smiles pasted on their countenances until they find an excuse to leave the speaker’s company? How regularly have we seen people turn a deaf ear to words of appreciation uttered about their acquaintances or look away when a friend of theirs is being crowned laurels?
Our failure to see a positive in the other or to celebrate the victories of others clearly indicates that we are not truly educated. Education of the mind is far more significant than the accumulation of degrees which we only see as a passport to employment and prosperity. Then we are confronted with the inevitable question: Are we educated?