Jason Wright says that a life can be changed in about seventeen seconds. He calls them miracles. There is even a book and a website and a facebook application to record those that happen to you, and those that you engage in and perform. I know Jason personally, and can say easily that his life definitely reflects the sense of fun and service an
d the joy of existing that a little bit of extra effort produces.
My thoughts today surround my own little seventeen second miracles. I call it Feedback. It is something that often takes just about seventeen seconds (or a minute or two, depending on how verbose you are!). It is the little moments we take to respond to someone.
It can be about a service, a little ‘Thank you for. . . ‘ or a birthday. . . I had almost a hundred people wish me a great day. It absolutely surrounded me with awe to think that that many people thought about me, and took the seconds required to tell me so. I’m still walking around in the glow of it. Yet I doubt that any one of them took more than literally a few seconds to comment. It can be a response to a post, a blog, a photo shared or a link we thought was worth sharing. Even the little click of a “LIKE” button in Facebook sends a smile into the heart.
We NEED feedback. From our partners, our children, our bosses. We crave knowing that we matter. That we’ve been a good parent, a successful employee, a service to the world.
For a moment let’s look on the other side. How do you feel when you say something, share something, and no one responds? It is a dark and lonely place to feel like your contributions are not noticed.
Telling someone they look great in a certain color, noticing that their hair is cut or styled a different way, their child looks especially darling or even just an eye-to-eye smile, can change a day, an outlook, even a life. Letting others know how we feel and think about their contributions makes those contributions worth repeating. Sometimes I’m afraid that those with a talent for complimenting and encouraging others don’t realize the depth of their talent. Some of the most important talents are in this life are the abilities to really listen; to appreciate sincerely; and to tell others what their contributions mean to you. Think of your little comments differently today. Think of them as warm hugs and generous pats on the back. Consider telling someone who sends you a compliment or a cute joke or an inspiring thought that you were touched. It makes all the difference and takes just about . . . seventeen seconds.