On a Friday evening several weeks ago I participated in a retirement ceremony for a beloved colleague. He was a physician to the prince and the pauper. His scientific background and clinical skills were legendary. He was an international expert and the go-to guy for tough cases.
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Of course, there were the usual accolades and tributes, but one comment jumped out at me. His secretaries lauded this accomplished doctor for being one of the first among his colleagues to demonstrate his gratitude for a job well done. Studies show that although a paycheck is important, recognition and appreciation for one's efforts are just as important.
A recent remark about my piano playing brought home to me the importance of gratitude. Let me stress that my piano teacher has urged me to keep my medical license up to date since my musical skills are marginal at best. Yet when a person who had heard me play said, "You know you're not too bad," I felt profoundly gratified and that maybe I was making progress.
So an important lesson: Everyone needs to feel appreciated and encouraged. Don't pass up a chance to voice your gratitude for a job well done. Sure, this isn't brain surgery but just some common sense advice to make this sometimes cold and cruel world a little softer and a little kinder.
Aug. 25, 2010