Power of Compliments

What was the last compliment you received?

Yesterday the Starbucks barista handed me my large dark roast coffee and said, “That’s a nice hoodie.  I really like that shade of green.”

I looked up at him, smiled, and instantly liked him.  Ironically, I was also complimented on this same hoodie a year ago by a Chipotle worker who was making my steak bowl.  I never forgot her compliment, and it’ll be a long time before I forgot the barista’s as well.

Me in my green compliment-getting hoodie.  Do you like it too?

This experience reminded me how powerful compliments can be to achieveing success.

The great mass of normal people typically feel that they go unnoticed.  I’ve been using this to my advantage over the last several years.

In college I took a Roman history class.  The professor was a 70 year old, skinny man, who was about 5’6, with grey hair and beard, and always dressed in a suit.  

His 8:30 AM class, however, put students to sleep.  He stood straight in front of the class and never moved once during the entire 90 minutes.  His voice tonality always remained on the same quiet pitch.  My brain heard none of what came out of his mouth.

As a result, I received an ‘F’ on a test.  

But I never feared failing his class.  As other kids hunched over in their chairs, dumping their heads into their folded arms – I drank my coffee, and stared aimlessly at him watching his mouth move while I thought about the hot girl in yoga pants sitting next me.

He once commented to me, “JT, you can’t see what I can see when I’m teaching the class.  I really appreciate your attention.”

He then assigned a paper that we had to write based on the Plutarch’s story of Julius Caesar.  By the way – I highly recommend you read this too if you want to learn more about how to obtain power, success, and prosperity.  

I loved reading Plutarch’s Caesar as it was much different than the typical feminist and socialist indoctrination that most professors shove down your throat.  

Instead of handing my final paper into him during class, I decided to make a trip directly to his office.  I knocked on the door, he looked up at me and approached me, and as I handed him my paper I said, “I just want you to know that this was by far the most enjoyable assignment I’ve had this semester.”

He was grinning like he just won a million dollars.  

Although I received an A on my Plutarch’s Caesar paper, my actual final grade for the semester when totaled with all my F’s and D’s should have been somewhere around a C- at best or a D.  Instead, I received a B+.

The next semester I took a Shakespeare class.  The professor was a 33 year old smoke show.  Boobs popping out of her shirt, short skirts, and sexy high heels to make her ass look like she should be dancing in rap videos.

I hated reading Shakespeare and his old British style of literature.  I couldn’t retain anything nor did I really try to.  

I did though decide to make several trips to her office.  Mostly I just wanted to flirt with her and catch a glimpse of some cleavage.  I made sure too to tell her how much I appreciated her obvious passion and expertise for Shakespeare.  

When she returned one of my papers to me at the end of class, I looked at my grade of B- and saw her full page of handwritten feedback on the back.  As she continued to walk through the class and give back papers, I ran up to her and said, “I just want you to know that I really appreciate all your effort writing that great feedback.  I’m going to spend some time over the weekend reviewing it and will make the necessary adjustments.  Thank you!”

I wrote my final paper for the class the morning it was due.  I was disgusted with myself for my poor effort and planning.  Much to my shock, however, she emailed a week later and said, “This was your best work yet.  I’m giving you an A.  Your final grade for the semester will be an A-.  Thank you for your great effort!”

There are other examples of compliments that  I can think of throughout my life.  When I was working retail at age 18 and helped a woman find a CD that included a song she wanted to play for her wedding and she wrote a letter to my manager telling him how great I was.  I’ll never forget how her compliment made my $7 an hour feel like a $1,000 an hour job.

Or when I filled out a comment card for the girl working at a coffee stand in a grocery store.  She made me a protein shake even though they were closing.  When I came back a few weeks later she was glowing at me like I was Jesus.  

The examples with my two college professors show how powerful compliments can be in helping you get ahead.  As other students struggled and studied all night as they slammed coffee and pounded their fists in frustration – I never worried because I had faith in the power of my compliments.  

This must be emphasized – NEVER give a compliment unless you mean it.  

People can see through bull shit.  Your compliments will be effective when you mean it and it comes from the heart.  

Remember – other people probably would use the same compliments but they’re too afraid to speak.  So, when someone does something you really like, tell them.  You’ll benefit greatly.

What are some powerful compliments you’ve received or been given?  Also, please follow/subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.  

Oh, and you rock for reading this – thank you!

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