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December 14, 2018 Misc. Thanks 5 comments

We've put together six super easy ways that you can show gratitude on a daily Next time, skip the email or text and verbalize your thanks to that awesome.

According to positive psychologists, the words ‘thank you‘ are no longer just good manners, they are also beneficial to the self.

To take the best known examples, studies have suggested that being grateful can improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us cope with stressful times in our lives.

But we also say thank you because we want the other person to know we value what they’ve done for us and, maybe, encourage them to help us again in the future.

It’s this aspect of gratitude that Adam M. Grant and Francesco Gino examine in a series of new studies published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Grant & Gino, 2010).

They wanted to see what effect gratitude has on the person who is being thanked. Does it motivate and, if so, is it just by making people feel good, or is it more than that?

Double the help

In the first study 69 participants were asked to provide feedback to a fictitious student called ‘Eric’ on his cover letter for a job application. After sending their feedback through by email, they got a reply from Eric asking for more help with another cover letter.

The twist is that half of them got a thankful reply from Eric and the other half a neutral reply. The experimenters wanted to see what effect this would have on participant’s motivation to give Eric any more help.

As you might expect, those who were thanked by Eric were more willing to provide further assistance. Indeed the effect of ‘thank you’ was quite substantial: while only 32% of participants receiving the neutral email helped with the second letter, when Eric expressed his gratitude, this went up to 66%.

How gratitude works

The idea that saying thank you makes people more likely to help in the future is unsurprising, although the 100% increase is interesting, but what the researchers were interested in was why this happens.

Perhaps Eric’s gratitude made people feel better, or at least less bad? Or perhaps saying thanks boosted the helper’s self-esteem, which in turn motivated them to help again.

In fact the experimenters found that people weren’t providing more help because they felt better or it boosted their self-esteem, but because they appreciated being needed and felt more socially valued when they’d been thanked.

This feeling of social worth helps people get over factors that stop us helping. We are often unsure our help is really wanted and we know that accepting help from others can feel like a failure. The act of saying thank you reassures the helper that their help is valued and motivates them to provide more.

Pass it on

The researchers then wondered whether this effect would extend to other people. Would Eric’s thanks make participants more likely to help a different person?

In a second study Eric’s thanks (or lack of thanks in the control condition) was followed, a day later, by an email from ‘Steven’ asking for similar help. The percentage who offered to help Steven was 25% when they had received no gratitude from Eric, but this shot up to 55% when they had been thanked.

So the boost to participant’s social worth carried over from one day to the next and from one person to the next. Although the overall percentages were slightly lower, Eric’s gratitude still doubled the number of people willing to provide help.

In a third and fourth study the researchers tested their findings face-to-face rather than over email. They reached similar conclusions, with increases in prosocial behavior of 50% in the third study and 15% in the fourth study. These lower percentages show that the effect of gratitude on motivation depends on the situation.

Now, these studies mostly looked at the situation where strangers help each other. It’s likely that the effect of a thank you on prosocial behavior is more powerful on people we don’t know, because strangers are more cautious about helping each other in the first place.

Thank you!

Since, for most of us, expressing our thanks is an everyday occurrence, we tend to think nothing of it. But psychologically it has a very important role to play for both the person giving and the person receiving.

All four studies reveal that gratitude is more than just a social nicety, or a way of making the helper feel good; it reassures others their help was actually appreciated and it encourages further prosocial behavior.

So, a big public thank you to Adam M. Grant and Francesco Gino for this enlightening study, hopefully there’s more to follow.

Photo: woodleywonderworks

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Mark Harmon is most recognized for starring as the charming, quick-thinking, and humorous Agent Gibbs on NCIS. While a private individual, what Agent Gibbs lacks in conversational prowess, he makes up for in compassion, dedication, and a strong commitment to justice.

Similar to the character he portrays on the most-watched television series, Mark Harmon is also a hardworking man with no plans of slowing down any time soon. Grateful to show up on set, ready to work every day, Mark Harmon has – on more than one occasion – shared how lucky he feels to be part of such a successful venture; yet, he has also shared his belief that people “earn luck.”

If anyone has earned his stay on an internationally recognized network show, it’s the man who previously starred in St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope, Flaming Road, and more. Mark Harmon has been a TV actor for quite some time, and the former Sexiest Man Alive boasts the dedication to his art and the talent needed to lead a primetime show.

While other actors come and go, moving on to spread their wings in new directions, Harmon stays behind. And, based on the ratings, which just keep climbing, it appears that he alone is the actor holding the show together. Who can resist that smile? However, NCIS has not always been such a successful show.

Mark Harmon explained to ET Canada that “the show caught on late; it didn’t catch on right at the beginning” before going on to recount one of the benefits he cites as responsible for keeping the show on the air.

The reason Mark Harmon believes CBS initially left those working on ‘NCIS’ alone

During his interview with ET Canada, Mark Harmon stated:

“I always said that one of the great things, I think, that was a benefit to this show was us shooting out in Santa Clarita. We were far enough away that the network kind of left us alone, and we weren’t bad enough to get canceled, and we weren’t good enough to get much attention. So, we had a chance to work on this for quite a while, which helped everybody involved.”

It’s clear that NCIS was not the fully-fleshed out series we know it to be today; however, according to Mark Harmon, shooting far enough from Los Angeles allowed those involved in the production to work out the fine details, growing to become the phenomenon it is today.

NCIS may have started like several other crime dramas – filled with characters marked by little quirks and tendencies to remember them by – but it has grown so far beyond its origins.

Now, NCIS boasts complex narrative arcs for each of its main characters, which are sprinkled throughout each episode. The writers consistently remind viewers that these naval investigators are more than their jobs and possess personalities that make them human, as opposed to tendencies that make them identifiable. NCIS is an international success because it rises beyond the standards its like-minded shows wish to attain. And, thanks to filming in Santa Clarita, it was given the time it needed to find its footing.

The season finale of NCIS premieres May 14

With the season finale of NCIS now only two episodes away, the anticipation keeps building. With all the Ziva teases, fans can’t help but wonder if there’s any way the character will make a return. If not this season, next?

While NCIS season 16 is coming to a close, the show has already been renewed for season 17, and Sean Murray has cleared up all the rumors that he will not be returning. So, buckle up, enjoy the finale, and prepare to see the return of your favorite cast members in season 17.

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Whether you’re job searching, working on your professional development, or building your career, you’ve probably been in a situation that warranted showing appreciation and gratitude. Perhaps you received a job lead and a pep talk from a former colleague. Maybe you had an informational interview with someone who has now taken you under their wing and is serving as a mentor. It might even be a family member who’s your greatest fan. Whatever the situation, one way to show gratitude is to write a thank-you note that expresses your appreciation.

Why gratitude matters

Before getting into writing the content for your thank you letters, let’s ask the question, “why gratitude?” What is it about being appreciative that even makes it important? Showing gratitude is a great way to clear your mind when you are feeling overwhelmed. After moving at top speed or going through routine motions for a while, slow down the pace so you can contemplate how those around you add value to your life in some way. Knowing who you are thankful for and for what reasons can really help you strike a balance.

Like a hug, expressing appreciation typically feels good to both giver and receiver. In addition to making someone else’s day, showing gratitude packs a powerful punch of other benefits. According to studies by Robert Emmons, gratitude’s physical, psychological, and emotional perks include:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
  • More joy and pleasure, more optimism and happiness
  • More forgiving and outgoing outlooks, less lonely and isolated feelings

For these reasons, we suggest exploring opportunities for saying “thank you.” It doesn’t have to be reserved for after a job interview. Here are some ideas for identifying other situations worthy of a note of thanks or gratitude. The following samples are designed to help you get your inspiration flowing:

The trusty “job lead” friend

Let’s say you have a friend who’s really in-the-know about the latest job openings, and customizes what she sends you based on your interests and a strong understanding of your abilities. A thank-you note is a great way to not only show appreciation but also let them know they are really on the mark with the job leads and suggestions they give. Try a note like this:

Dear _______________,

I just wanted to share how much the job leads you send mean to me. The attention you pay to the details of each opportunity is clear to see, because the ones you send match not only my interests but my abilities. What you do is really motivating and keeps me uplifted in my job search. To know that you consider me able to do _____________ and _____________ enhances my confidence in myself. It keeps me inspired to apply for more jobs where my ________ skills can really shine. I really appreciate that you’ve taken such an interest in my job search and am grateful for the way you’ve stepped in as my personal “career sleuth!”

 

Why this works: In addition to expressing your appreciation, you are affirming that what your friend has sent is helpful to you, and that if they continue sending similar leads, they are on the right track.

The informational interviewee-turned-mentor

So you got up the courage to ask someone for an informational interview, and they really took you under their wing. Maybe they went above and beyond to keep the conversation going, shared great resources, or invited you to an event that will be attended by some key hiring managers in your field…plus gave you the low-down on their typical hiring practices. What to say to show your gratitude:

Dear ________________,

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your career in __(industry, cause area)_ over the last few weeks. I learned so much about _____ and _______, and will be sure to check out the latest set of insights and leads you shared with me. I am so appreciative of not only the way you have taken me under your wing after our first meeting, but your generosity with your time and resources. The interest that you show in my success and development is something for which I feel very grateful.

Please know that my offer to assist with your ________ project still stands. If my skills are not the best match, I’m happy to pass along the message to my contacts in an effort to find a great volunteer!

Why this works: In addition to showing your gratitude, you are offering to assist your mentor. If your skills are not an appropriate match, showing willingness to tap into your networks is a great alternative!

The “biggest fan” family member

Many of us have a family member who has earned the title “biggest fan.” In their eyes, no challenge is so insurmountable that we can’t overcome it and our every accomplishment is worthy of celebration and praise. Here’s an example of showing gratitude via the written word:

Dear ______________,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the support you’ve shown me throughout my career, particularly during my latest __(race to a promotion, job search, unemployment fiasco)______. You’ve always been someone I could call my “biggest fan.” What means the most to me is that you do more than tell me I’m “great” at what I do, or that I’m a shoe-in for an opportunity. You take it a few steps beyond and share the reasons why you think so. Sometimes it seems like you remember my achievements even better than I do myself. I always appreciate your ability to see how my talents can make a difference and you’ve made me a believer too! After a chat with you, I always feel more confident and capable, and for that I will always be grateful.

Why this works: Keeping it warm and appreciative is a great way to strengthen familial bonds. It expresses not just appreciation but understanding of the effects your “biggest fan” has on your well-being and confidence. When they know it’s working, they are more likely to keep it up!

The “saved the day” colleague

Whether you’ve been stumbling over an appropriate response to a workplace issue or you’ve been scrounging for the most cost-effective way to get a project completed, sometimes the help of a colleague can really make the difference. When you’ve had a colleague “save the day,” try a note like this:

Dear __________________,

When you found me sitting at my desk unproductively tapping my pen against it last week, you could have just walked on by and left me to my _(writer’s block, unresolved issue, confusion…)_. Instead, you pulled over a seat and went right to work with me. I can’t thank you enough for not only your teamwork and support, but for your vote of confidence. You really pulled me out of my work slump. I also appreciate the way you used your insights from your department to develop a really seamless solution that provides benefits all around! Knowing now how your team tackles ______, I’m happy to compare notes the next time you are working on ____________ so we can achieve similar success.

Why this works: Positive interactions with colleagues allow for a more supportive relationship that can help everyone thrive. While your co-worker may have stepped in without any expectation of you returning the favor, always take an opportunity to see your organization and its work from the perspective of another department- maybe even identify a way that you can provide insights for that area.

The “just lets me vent” friend

This person knows that talking it out might just be all you need. No unsolicited ideas or solutions, brainstorming sessions, or “I told you so’s” this friend simply lets you vent and work out your feelings. When you want to express feelings of a different kind, try something like this:

Dear ______________,

When you stopped by yesterday, you may not have known just what you were getting into by asking me how things are going. And after letting me talk for nearly an hour about __(current issue in your professional life)_____, I wanted to express my appreciation. The sympathetic way you just listened without going into “solution mode” was just what I needed. I really felt heard and understood- you have a rare gift for that! Thank you not only for being there, but for giving me exactly what I needed at the time. I can now say that after thinking “out loud”, I feel ready to tackle this issue head-on. Thank you!

Why this works: This note shows that in addition to being appreciative of the person’s time and attention, you are ready to take the “next step.” People are more inclined to help out in the way you need them to when they feel like it makes a true, lasting difference.

Which of these scenarios rings most true for you right now? Pick a person to thank and tweak the templates to best fit your situation. Share your experience in the comments below!

Tags: connecting to your network, getting in touch, networking, reconnecting with your contacts, thank you, thank you notes, writing thank you notes

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I became acquainted with Idealist in late 2000 while working in the career development office at a private liberal arts college in NYC. I used it almost daily to help students and alumni find meaningful careers. After a 12-year stint in higher education, I worked as a career coach for professionals in various industries (and still used Idealist). During one of those many searches, a listing really caught my eye- the one for the newly-created position, Careers Program Coordinator. So... I jumped at the opportunity. Since then, I took on the role of Manager of Career Content for Idealist Careers, creating career content for job seekers, leaders, and other nonprofit professionals. Understanding the roles that a positive outlook and holistic self-care play in career success, I've shared with our readers time-honored methods for improving confidence and productivity. Now, as Manager of College and Professional Development, my focus is on lifting the advice from Idealist Careers "off the page". Drawing from my experience in career development, I propel job seekers and career changers towards taking control of their searches with confidence and removing fear, uncertainty, and other blocks to success via in-person workshops and seminars, webinars, and conference programming. My great loves are cooking (preferably without a recipe, otherwise I doctor it up), dancing, live cultural performances, identifying the tasting notes in a good cup of coffee, exploring neighborhoods for hidden gems, and anything else that sparks the senses and allows me to experience all the beauty, dynamism, and intrigue that vivaciously living in a remarkable world offers.

Zendaya is reaching out to her fans to thank them for supporting her dark, groundbreaking HBO drama Euphoria. Ahead of the show's season.

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Maps can be a great way to get a message across when the data you’re dealing with affects people on a country’s population scale. [jwolin] works for a non-profit organization, and wanted a way to help people visualize the extent of their operations and the causes they deal with. To do that, he created a nifty smart map wall display.

The display consists of a world map cut out of MDF, and affixed to a brick wall. There’s also two 4K Samsung monitors included as part of the system. The top monitor displays headings to contextualise the data, while the bottom screen displays related full motion video. A series of DMX-controlled lights then shine on the world map in various configurations to highlight the area of interest.

The system requires delicate coordination to operate cleanly and smoothly. There are three Windows 10 computers in the system, one for each monitor and another for the world map. An AutoHotkey script runs on the first computer, which selects a random video, and then sends out a command over serial to an Arduino Nano. This Arduino nano then communicates with two others, which make sure the second screen and DMX lighting rig then play the correct matching sequences, in time with the main video. Special care is taken to ensure that transitions are as smooth as possible, with no gaps in between each sequence. The entire installation is simple to update just by uploading additional content to a Dropbox folder, a crucial touch to future proof the project.

It’s an eye-catching system that helps educate visitors as to the mission of the organisation. We’ve seen other innovative world-map displays, like this clock that highlights night and day around the world. Video after the break.

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According to positive psychologists, the words 'thank you' are no longer just good These lower percentages show that the effect of gratitude on motivation.

thanks for the show
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