Many years ago, a friend of mine complained to me that his parents were the last people to praise him. He scored 96/100 In Math which was an astounding score for those days ( although it may have become all too common now). The only comment his father made, he told me, was to ask what had happened to the missing 4.

There is a school of thought that people in some cultures find it difficult to praise others. We from India, for example are reputed to be niggardly with praise. It doesn’t come easily to us. One reason could be our belief that the task accomplished was only to be expected and hence did not deserve special mention.  He was supposed to get 100 and he got 96 kind of thing.

A mother in a typical home in India seldom gets praised. She does a lot for the family, often putting her own interests aside, but the general refrain is that she is supposed to do these things anyway. What is there to praise her work?

Dr. Norihiro Sadato and his colleagues at the Japanese National Institute of Physiological Sciences found that paying people a compliment appeared to activate the same reward centre in the brain as paying them cash.

Studies show that factors like praise and social standing are seen as being as rewarding as any other inducement such as cash.

An article in today’s Times of India describing this caught my attention. For the brain, it says, praise is as good as cash.

What’s your take on this? Is praise as good as cash? I believe both are important and needed. You can’t have only cash with no praise :just as you can’t have only praise with no cash.

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This is the 144 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success