Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Praise List

Posted on: June 11, 2010

Came across an interesting iPhone application called “At a Boy!” (

This is a very simple software – It randomly picks a ‘compliment’ for you and displays it. For example “You look great today”, “Well done”, “You are a genius” etc.,

That’s all?

Yes. Research says we are happy when we hear nice words about ourselves, even if it comes from a total stranger, or a software program which just compliments us without knowing anything about us. You can read more about how this application came into existence in this article:

This gives us a simple, yet powerful idea. Why not maintain a “Praise List”?

Everyday, we get so many Emails from colleagues / friends / customers / others. Because of this information overload, just in a matter of days, these Emails go to the bottom of our inboxes and quietly forgotten. This includes those mails which ‘praise’ us for a job well done – It may be completion of a program / report ontime, or exceptional quality on some deliverable, or a great presentation, or remembering someone’s birthday. These digital praises may pep us for a minute, and then they are lost in the ocean of Emails.

(Image Source:

Why not maintain a “Praise List”? It may be a simple document in our desktop (or better, on the web in Google Docs / MS Office Live), Where we copy paste (or type) every praise we get from different people, with few basic details. For example:

Date: 10th June 2010

Mode: Email

Praise From: Mr. XYZ

Praise Text: “Great Report. I presented it to the customer and everyone loved it. Thanks for the great job.”

Like this, we can document all the Email Praises, telephone praises and face-to-face ‘Attaboy!’s from various people. Pretty soon, it will become our own “Praise List”.

But hei, what purpose it serves?

Not much, as of now. But later, when you are feeling down for any reason, I am sure this will make a great reading. It will remind us the instances when we did something right, and motivate us – Exactly like “At a Boy!” does, in a more personal, realistic manner, because these praises are real, not random / software generated!



N. Chokkan …

11 06 2010


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