6 Ways A Sincere Compliment Can Lead A Domino Effect Of Goodness

by Joshua Brown

Is it hard for you to sincerely compliment a random stranger or even someone you know? Well, you’re not alone.

Many find complimenting others oddly challenging, and some even stumble with their words trying to do so. But, hopefully, after you read this, it’ll become second nature and you’ll love doing it.

Now, a few things have to happen for a compliment to be truly sincere.

First and foremost, we have to acknowledge the immense power and effect that a sincere compliment could have on someone. Compliments can possibly — and likely will -- permeate throughout that person’s life.

Think that’s true? Good. Me too.

The positive influence or effect of a compliment could be so vast and far reaching that it could become unknowable. A compliment could indelibly create an awesome "butterfly effect" in the person receiving the compliment.

The butterfly effect is a scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever (not the Ashton Kutcher movie).

Something as small as the flap of a butterfly’s wings could, in theory, ripple through time and be the cause of a hurricane half a world away or even the extinction of a species. One small flutter to create a domino effect that powerful.

The implication I’m making is that a well thought-out and sincere compliment could be equally or more powerful than that butterfly’s wings.

Say, for instance, you complimented a shy artist’s work with true sincerity by pointing out the slight nuances that makes the art unique? You didn’t just say, “It’s pretty.”

Maybe you went a little bit further and acknowledged what in specific makes his art beautiful to you.

You study the different facets of it: the texture, the vibrant color choice and what exactly it was you found unique.

You openly explain to this shy artist what effect his art has had on you. Perhaps, this shy artist begins to create more art on account of your kind words just when he was going to give up. Maybe that’s just what he needed to keep going and believe in himself.

Maybe he kept painting and built a beautiful collection over the next six months.

Perhaps, his brush stroke became more confident. Maybe he then showed his work for the first time in a real art show.

And, maybe everyone else at this art show recognizes the shy artist's work to be beautiful just like you did.

This shy artist now has a career and dreams realized. He is happy, and this beautiful reality was ushered in simply by you giving him a sincere compliment six months ago. That was your butterfly effect.

We all know of the countless stories where someone’s life was forever changed by a compliment. Why not make many attempts during your day to start these butterfly effects?

Get to complimenting, my friends.

Giving a compliment shows you pay attention to more than just yourself.

When you acknowledge something special in someone, you are looking outside of yourself.

With the “look at me” culture on Instagram and Facebook, a compliment can be this wild, majestic, unicorn of a creature and completely catch someone off guard.

Think of a compliment flying in like Falcor from "The Never Ending Story.” Don’t get the reference? Come on, Gen-Y, that’s the one classic you have to watch!

People recognize you recognize goodness, so they begin to show you more of it.

You want to lift other people up (even if they’re strangers)

Part of your drive in complimenting should be to elicit a sincere effect on the person you are complimenting.

A compliment can never be sincere if it is designed to elicit something in return for you. After recognizing the long-lasting effect a compliment could have on someone, you have a strong desire to do it more and find more ways to sincerely do so.

We can create a #ThankYouThursday culture

What if instead of a #ThrowbackThursday pic of yourself in the bumblebee costume when you were 6 years old, you posted a #ThankYouThursday, publicly praising the character of someone who helped you get where you are today?

You’ll be surprised how much more beauty enters your life when you openly recognize what’s already there.

Could you imagine if we all went out trying to start our own “shy artist” butterfly effects in our own ways? All of those positive waves crashing into one another throughout time?

Yes, it can be that scale. 

You acknowledge that compliments aren’t just simply statements or observations

A compliment can be more than simply words of praise or acknowledgement. Compliments come in the form of action as well.

Think about it: When someone donates to a charity, for instance, that person is subconsciously complimenting the organization's efforts through a means in which to help the organization help others.

Maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend has been under a lot of stress, and your compliment comes in the form of cleaning his or her apartment for him or her.

You see your partner has been working incredibly hard and you compliment him or her with a lighter load of tasks.

Compliments can be acknowledgement through your actions to better a person or make his or her life just a little bit easier.

You recognize every single person you meet knows something you don’t and you want to learn

We can ALL learn from one another. Compliment the person teaching you. That is, if you want to keep the environment growing.

Respect is also its own form of a compliment.

You open yourself up to receiving sincere compliments

As you become an avid practitioner of giving sincere compliments, you also begin to recognize when they are bestowed upon you.

Receiving a compliment has equal power to giving one. You can acknowledge when someone has truly acknowledged something unique about you, and you can choose to incubate that quality, the hope being that it grows into what you envision.