“I can live two months on a good compliment.”    Mark Twain

I love compliments. They actually mean more to me than a material gift.  I have told my children and grandchildren to no longer buy me presents for any of the notable celebrations like my birthday or Father’s Day.  No more Christmas presents.

But, never once have I said to eliminate, or even reduce, compliments.  As someone who has enjoyed a certain level of success in life, one might conclude that I do not need any praise. Or, at my age, is it really necessary?

Yes – it is necessary. It is desired. It will be a personal requirement until I am no longer here on this earth.  I imagine that most of us also share in this need.

Sometimes, material gifts are easier to give than compliments. What we cannot verbalize may be what we are trying to say with our gift. Does this make sense?

Because I want to make a difference on behalf of others, I need to have a monitoring tool to know if I am being successful. Feedback in the form of a compliment is one method.

There is another approach, ‘constructive criticism,’ but I am not a big fan of that tactic. Yes, I do believe it serves a purpose, when done properly and when the time and place is right.  But, when comparing the two, and given a choice, the decision is easy for me.  I choose the compliment.

Zig Ziglar, the great motivational speaker, wrote and spoke about the ratio between negative and positive statements.  For every critical statement made to another, he believed you needed to have a multiple of positive statements to overcome the negative.  When kids were the recipient, he felt that this approach was absolutely essential.

As human beings, we are easily persuaded of our faults. We find it difficult to believe what is great about ourselves. After someone gives you a compliment and you have a moment to absorb what has been said, what are your first thoughts?  ‘Yes, you are right, this is who I am.’  Or, do you travel a different path – ‘He  does not really know me. If he did, he would not be saying what he just said.’  Maybe, you have other thoughts that are more neutral – down the middle.

How important is a compliment to your life? Does it really matter?

According to Nataly Kogan, the co-founder of the social network, Happier, compliments rank high in significance. She says, “We all know how great it is to receive a compliment; research shows getting a sincere compliment gives us the same positive boost as receiving cash! But did you know that the health and happiness benefits to the compliment giver are also well-documented? Compliments really are one of the easiest two-way streets available in terms of spreading happiness around you and increasing your own. The more you compliment, the better you feel.

 I can hear some of you saying . . .  ‘Just show me the cash and I will be glad to put on my “happy face” all day long.  I love cash too! It can bring a few smiles. But, in my heart, at a deeper level of my being, I understand the importance of positive feedback. My own life and the life of those around me have been enhanced because of positive statements. I have witnessed the results and have been both receiver and giver.

We may agree with the philosophy, but desire practical examples to help us get started. Show me!

Nataly does show us on her website where she lists 100 compliments we can use in our daily lives.  More than a few will fit you, matching your own style and approach.   Here is a sampling of her suggestions:

You look great today!

I like your style

You have the best laugh.

Your eyes are breathtaking

You bring out the best in other people.

You’re one of a kind.

You’re more fun than bubble wrap!!

You’re so thoughtful.

Go to her website and print these suggestions, carrying them with you for a week. Identify one that you believe would be appropriate for someone who is important in your life. Or, create your own. Personalize it for the greatest impact.

When you compliment another, you powerfully affect your own life.

How often do I receive compliments? How frequently do I give them? What is my verbal response when someone compliments me?What one person in my life could use a good compliment now?

Compliments are powerful and influential.  It is amazing that we do not utilize this success principle more often.

Compliments are . . .

cost effective – free!

efficient – you only need three words!

You are fantastic!

You look great!

You are fun!

impactful – to the giver as well as to the receiver


Today, I select one person to compliment.

I will say . . .


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