It’s always a humbling and satisfying experience to have our works recognised; it tells us that people are watching what we do, from near and afar.
Undeniably, we feel so euphoric when people begin to remark that we are good at what we do. This feeling comes naturally, owing largely to the fact that humans are bound to readily react to ‘positive reinforcements’ – as psychologists would say.
For instance, if I remark that Kofi, who’s a footballer, is an excellent player who makes football a delight to watch, Kofi’s brain, in response to this positive remark I’ve made about his footballing prowess, is very likely to be triggered to release dopamine – a “happy hormone”.
The hormone’s effect will manifest on Kofi’s face, by means of beaming smiles, ostensibly out of the positive remark I made about his football skillfulness.
This is how man has been naturally programmed to be, unless in a case of a possible disorderliness.
Much as it is gratifying to have people recognise our abilities by passing positive remarks, I think it is also a somewhat risky situation that needs to be duly checked and balanced.
Praises have the tendencies of making us full of ourselves. When we allow praises to get into our heads, rather than capitalising on them to work even harder to improve on ourselves and abilities, we are very likely to be complacent, and this would only make us relax, outwitting ourselves into thinking that we are ripe enough and thus, need no more improvement.
Therefore, anytime good words are said of us, we should learn to resist the irksome temptations of becoming full of ourselves. Instead, we should learn to see those words as motivations that we should work even harder.
[NOTE: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once delivered a speech in which he talked about our innate instincts that make us readily fall for praises. It’s titled “DRUM MAJOR INSTINCT. I recommend that speech to you. It will give you a better grasp of this article.]
Author: Mohammed Ezzideen Yakub [MEDICAL STUDENT, UHAS]