If you don’t have many friends and have wondered why, please let me share this quote by the late Dale Carnegie that may give you the reason: “You can win more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people, than you can in 10 years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

This is so true, and the reason is because one of the deepest needs that we human beings have is to feel needed and appreciated. When we care enough and take the time to make others feel special and important, we have met this deep need for them, and they in turn will just naturally be drawn to us.

To add to these simple statements, here is something else to consider. When it comes to motivating other people, the greatest motivator in the world is to make a person feel that they are needed and appreciated. One of the most important things in the world is to give appreciation for work well done. Let’s make sure we give that to our loved ones, our family, our co-workers, and to other people around us. We should never let them forget how very precious they are in our lives.

At this point I would like to give you a “paradox,” which means: “A statement seemingly absurd or contradictory, yet in fact true.” We can give other people all the help, praise, well-wishes, pats on the back, and words of sincere appreciation, but we will become very discouraged and depressed if we wait on them to do the same for us.

This is why someone coined the saying, “There is no limit to what we can do if we don’t care who gets the credit.” What I am saying is just human nature, and if we would take the time to study the reasons other people do the things they do, and why they do them, we would be way ahead of the game.

In light of this, let me remind you of the story in the Bible when Jesus found 10 men stricken with the dreaded disease of leprosy, which had made them unfit for the society of other men. It is difficult to imagine men in a worse situation; yet, after Jesus healed all of them, only one of the 10 came back to say thank you. Many would say that one out of 10 is a pretty good average. However, because we are all hungry for recognition, our situation becomes particularly dangerous if we allow ourselves to expect appreciation when the chances are so great that we will not get it.

In this case, withdrawal is the most dangerous course to follow, for the one who withdraws from his fellows is the one who is hurt most. Now here is the bottom line for this column. The solution is to eliminate the expectation of praise or appreciation as a motive for our behavior.

When we do anything, the criteria to depend on is whether or not it is right or wrong, not whether we expect commendation for it. Then we control the situation in our own minds, and we always receive satisfaction from our good deeds when we have control of the situation.

If one out of 10 comes back to thank us, we are just that much ahead of the game and feel doubly repaid. As the old saying goes, “Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed.” The wonderful thought for me here is not whether or not you call or write to thank me for writing this column, but rather if I have helped you in some way.

Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034

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