Discounting the Positives

Have you ever tried to politely encourage someone who refuses to even consider (or even listen to) your words?

Maybe you’ve offered a compliment to someone who was not only incapable of a gracious “thank you,” but also would set out to prove your compliment wrong. They may even do this at the risk of insulting you by making it appear you are the one in error.

“Your presentation was very interesting.”

“It was awful! I forgot a slide and there was not enough color in the graphs.”

Discounting the positives is not about being modest or humble. It is a mental process of refusing to accept accomplishments or insisting our positive qualities do not count.

While this is a common problem with people who suffer from depression, this behavior is also a huge obstacle to success in business. Sometimes this behavior is just from bad habits and lack of awareness. In these cases, these actions are correctable habits.

Those that suffer from this classic cognitive distortion may dismiss your compliments. However, it is a good idea to continue to offer honest compliments, even if just as a matter of working on your own healthy habits of respect for others.

If you are one who discounts all compliments, take a moment and find a way to accept the good with the bad. You can be realistic about room for improvement without insulting others by disparaging their well-intended compliments.


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.