Blue? Have a sagging mood? Getting depressed? Maybe you just haven't had a recent dose of praise. It's easy to feel low when you haven't received a recent compliment. Other people's praise and admiration goes a long way in boosting mood.
To be effective, praise needs to be specific and relevant to choices and achievements. Overall statements praising a person's nature sound fake if they're too general. That's why reading inspirational quotes can only go so far as mood boosters.
Truly effective praise is:
descriptive: providing details shows that the giver understands and listened carefully to what happened. Vague or unspecific praise is never as effective as praise for specific accomplishments.
timely: trying to praise far past achievements gives a fake feeling to praise, as if the giver is scrounging for something positive to remark on.
personalized: praise needs to be specific to the recipient. Doling out praise to an entire group is less effective than individual compliments.
logical: a teacher might praise students who were outside a classroom for not disrupting class, but even the noisiest student would have had no effect on a class in another room.
Friends and counselors are great at providing this praise. smart bosses will boost employee morale by praising specific employees for specific achievements. Praising even small tasks can be effective, if the tasks are well-done.
What dries up the flow of praise? Many times, one friend might not have an interest in what their friend does professionally. they're friends for other reasons. Other times, friends and family are genuinely ignorant of the tasks and knowledge that a friend or family member uses in their career. Specialized workers like engineers, doctors or lawyers have very specific knowledge that others might not understand.
But what about isolated people? Take your pick from office workers, university students, retirees, or most people in a modern society. Enter PraiseBot, artificial intelligence softwarethat reads through your blog or personal journal for clues about your daily life. It's programmed to generate tailored praise in response to your entries about small tasks, minor achievements and daily routines.
User: "I saved a bundle with coupons during my shopping today."
PraiseBot: "You really paid attention to that shopping list. good job for sticking to your list and not falling for impulse buys"
User: "my parallel park at work was really close to the other cars, but I was careful not to scratch my neighbors"
PraiseBot: "Not everyone would have been able to park their car in that tight spot. Way to go for being careful and using the space you were able to find!"
User: "Whew! what a day! there were a few tough articles to write, since they required extra research"
PraiseBot: "your dedication paid off! Bravo for sticking to the articles and moving them along! It shows how you care about supporting your points with well-researched facts. not everyone would have had the endurance to finish them on such a close deadline!"
Yes, the user will be entirely aware that the comments are coming from a digital impersonation rather than a live user. However, the positive comments might be enough to be effective. PraiseBot can search through thousands of websites for relevant information and find keywords that simulate understanding of whatever the person has done.
Remember Tamagotchi? Sure, there were only 3 buttons, a grainy LCD screen and tinny speaker. Still, the reinforcements it doled out when a user kept their digital pet healthy, well-fed, entertained, and clean was enough to make it a raucous success.