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Recognize Excellence to Make a Difference

Recognize Excellence to Make a Difference

Recognize Excellence to Make a Difference

    It was Monday, December 29 and I wasn’t happy.  I had spent part of the morning at home working on odds and ends and another part of the morning at the office working on a book review and a few other things.  I was in a funk because I’d forgotten to answer an email from a friend and mentor asking about having lunch today, I had a billion little things to do, and to top it off, I had to go to the local inspection station for a third emissions test to see if the $560 or so I had plowed into my 1995 Saturn had reduced my hydrocarbon emissions enough to please the City of Memphis (it didn’t; about $300-$400 later, it finally did).  Comfort food is a natural human weakness that is especially appealing when one isn’t happy.  I opted for Taco Bell.

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    I pulled into the drive-thru and fully expected my order to be handled with outright belligerence, as had been my experience at other fast food outlets recently.  I was surprised, nay, shocked, when the person who took my order was genuinely cheerful, clear, and helpful. I was further surprised to find that my food was hot, my order was 100% correct, and my takeout bag included a wet nap and a mint.  Not bad for less than $4.

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    I resolved then and there that I would find out how I could recognize the service I had received.   I wrote the first draft of this while waiting in line to have my car checked; since I bought a MacBook Air a few months ago, I can type from the “comfort” of my driver’s seat, and after returning home from a recent trip I visited the feedback website and let them know how happy I was with my experience.

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    This speaks to a larger issue that will be of interest to Lifehack readers: how do we get the most bang for our buck in our charitable endeavors? As a citizen, I want to help those who are less well-off than I am.  As an economist, however, I am all too aware of the law of unintended consequences and the frequency with which our charitable endeavors actually work to the detriment of those we wish to help.  Tyler Cowen has an excellent discussion of this in his 2007 book Discover Your Inner Economist: he notes that in parts of India, people actually pay to have limbs amputated in order to increase their begging take.  This is positively destructive, so the concerned citizen interested in maximizing bang for his or her charitable buck will want to look for ways to transfer resources without distorting incentives.

    One way to do this is by providing positive feedback where it is warranted.  Few people taking orders at fast food restaurants will be in the same position in a few years, and employers are always looking for ways to identify talent.  Giving credit where credit is due is one way to help people get a leg up in life.  In addition, markets work more efficiently the more valuable information is available.

    There are added benefits, too.  As a college professor, I try to teach my students the ability to offer constructive criticism.  I regularly ask students to send me an email at the end of the semester detailing what they liked the most and what they liked the least about my courses.  Providing feedback on customer service when it is requested (or when it is appropriate) is an easy way to practice giving constructive feedback while helping people who deserve it.

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    More by this author

    Art Carden

    Art Carden is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Business at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

    A Review of the Book “The Art of Learning” 21st Century Opportunities Learning from A Master: Review of “Bear Bryant, CEO” On “The Substance of Style” Productivity Hints from Booker T. Washington

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    Last Updated on October 6, 2020

    15 Things Highly Confident People Don’t Do

    15 Things Highly Confident People Don’t Do

    Highly confident people believe in their ability to achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else put their faith in you? To walk with swagger and improve your self-confidence, watch out for these fifteen things highly confident people don’t do.

    And if you want to know the difference between an arrogant person and a confident person, watch this video first:

     

    1. They don’t make excuses.

    Highly confident people take ownership of their thoughts and actions. They don’t blame the traffic for being tardy at work; they were late. They don’t excuse their short-comings with excuses like “I don’t have the time” or “I’m just not good enough”; they make the time and they keep on improving until they are good enough.

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    2. They don’t avoid doing the scary thing.

    Highly confident people don’t let fear dominate their lives. They know that the things they are afraid of doing are often the very same things that they need to do in order to evolve into the person they are meant to be.

    3. They don’t live in a bubble of comfort.

    Highly confident people avoid the comfort zone, because they know this is a place where dreams die. They actively pursue a feeling of discomfort, because they know stretching themselves is mandatory for their success.

    4. They don’t put things off until next week.

    Highly confident people know that a good plan executed today is better than a great plan executed someday. They don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right circumstances”, because they know these reactions are based on a fear of change. They take action here, now, today – because that’s where progress happens.

    5. They don’t obsess over the opinions of others.

    Highly confident people don’t get caught up in negative feedback. While they do care about the well-being of others and aim to make a positive impact in the world, they don’t get caught up in negative opinions that they can’t do anything about. They know that their true friends will accept them as they are, and they don’t concern themselves with the rest.

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    6. They don’t judge people.

    Highly confident people have no tolerance for unnecessary, self-inflicted drama. They don’t feel the need to insult friends behind their backs, participate in gossip about fellow co-workers or lash out at folks with different opinions. They are so comfortable in who they are that they feel no need to look down on other people.

    7. They don’t let lack of resources stop them.

    Highly confident people can make use of whatever resources they have, no matter how big or small. They know that all things are possible with creativity and a refusal to quit. They don’t agonize over setbacks, but rather focus on finding a solution.

    8. They don’t make comparisons.

    Highly confident people know that they are not competing with any other person. They compete with no other individual except the person they were yesterday. They know that every person is living a story so unique that drawing comparisons would be an absurd and simplistic exercise in futility.

    9. They don’t find joy in people-pleasing.

    Highly confident people have no interest in pleasing every person they meet. They are aware that not all people get along, and that’s just how life works. They focus on the quality of their relationships, instead of the quantity of them.

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    10. They don’t need constant reassurance.

    Highly confident people aren’t in need of hand-holding. They know that life isn’t fair and things won’t always go their way. While they can’t control every event in their life, they focus on their power to react in a positive way that moves them forward.

    11. They don’t avoid life’s inconvenient truths.

    Highly confident people confront life’s issues at the root before the disease can spread any farther. They know that problems left unaddressed have a way of multiplying as the days, weeks and months go by. They would rather have an uncomfortable conversation with their partner today than sweep an inconvenient truth under the rug, putting trust at risk.

    12. They don’t quit because of minor set-backs.

    Highly confident people get back up every time they fall down. They know that failure is an unavoidable part of the growth process. They are like a detective, searching for clues that reveal why this approach didn’t work. After modifying their plan, they try again (but better this time).

    13. They don’t require anyone’s permission to act.

    Highly confident people take action without hesitation. Every day, they remind themselves, “If not me, who?”

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    14. They don’t limit themselves to a small toolbox.

    Highly confident people don’t limit themselves to Plan A. They make use of any and all weapons that are at their disposal, relentlessly testing the effectiveness of every approach, until they identify the strategies that offer the most results for the least cost in time and effort.

    15. They don’t blindly accept what they read on the Internet as “truth” without thinking about it.

    Highly confident people don’t accept articles on the Internet as truth just because some author “said so”. They look at every how-to article from the lens of their unique perspective. They maintain a healthy skepticism, making use of any material that is relevant to their lives, and forgetting about the rest. While articles like this are a fun and interesting thought-exercise, highly confident people know that they are the only person with the power to decide what “confidence” means.

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