Randy Pausch, the late professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, said in his book, The Last Lecture, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” The holidays are a good time to stop and take stock, both personally and professionally. The problem is, many of us are just too busy for gratitude! Appreciation is such a powerful, simple thing, yet so seldom expressed—especially in the workplace. In fact, one survey found that people are less likely to express gratitude at work than any place else, with 74 percent never or rarely expressing gratitude to their boss. Indeed, the workplace can be a place of high critique—whether it’s yourself or others evaluating your work. We’re often quick to criticize, not so quick to give praise.
There’s a scene in the movie “This is 40” where Leslie Mann turns to her husband, played by Paul Rudd, and says, “You should care more.” Frustrated by her husband’s ambivalence, Leslie makes a simple, yet fundamental statement. Like many of us, her husband doesn’t appreciate being told what to do. And therein lies the problem (not the husband, ha)—but rather that caring shouldn’t be forced, it should be inspired. Fact is, if we don’t care, we don’t grow. But, when caring is abundantly demonstrated, it becomes infectious.