I think that validation might be the most important thing in the world.
As Lance Miller said in his 2005 award-winning Toastmaster speech, “Do you know what’s wrong with the world? Do you know what’s wrong with me? Do you know what’s wrong with you? Who cares?!! The question is what’s right with the world? What is right with me? What is right with you?”
Think back to an argument that you had with someone. Imagine what would have happened at the inception of that argument if you had, instead of finding fault with them, found something about them that you liked, and asked them to do the same to you. Do you really think you would have ended up having that argument?
There’s another point here that I believe in. What you validate comes true. Have you ever been told that your handwriting was bad, and then noticed it got worse? Or been told that you were too slow, and then found yourself moving even slower? Or the reverse. Have you ever made a really good meal and had others really compliment you on it, and thereafter started cooking even better? I think that the more you put your attention on something, the more you will have it. Like a problem that the more you think about, the worse it gets. Ever had a problem that you just ignored, and later realized it wasn’t even a problem anymore?
I want you to try something today. I want you to go out and find something about someone to validate. And I’m not talking about some insincere Dale Carnegie flattery. I’m talking about something that you actually think is wonderful about the person, and let them know what you think. This can be anyone you meet today. A friend, an enemy, a total stranger on the street. Just do it once and see what happens. Feel free to write me back and tell me what happened.
I bring this up as this is one of the best skills to have while traveling. I personally think the best thing about traveling is meeting new friends on the road. And the fastest way to make a friend is to find something about that person that you like. Chances are they like it too. Not many people wear clothes or do things that they hate. But even if they do, what do you think would happen if they were validated for it? Have you ever done a job that you really didn’t want to do, and then had your foreman tell you what a wonderful job you were doing?
When you’re traveling, feel free to find things you like about those around you, and comment freely on them. The simple ones are chefs for good meals, hosts for their services, etc. But what about the stranger passing you by wearing that great hat, or the porter handling your baggage with alacrity.
When you validate, do it from the heart. Don’t just say the words. Find something that you honestly think is good about the person, not what you think they want to hear. If you don’t like their jacket, don’t say you do. But if you really think it’s a great jacket, even though you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it yourself, tell them it really is a great jacket.
There is a final part to this, and that is self-invalidation. Now, I know you’ve never done this, but maybe someone else you know has. So we’ll talk about them. When someone has been invalidated, they’ll have a tendency to continue to give themselves the same invalidation. As if they treat themselves the way others have treated them. While there are a lot of ways to handle self-invalidation, let’s get to the root of the cause. Let’s cut out as much invalidation of them as possible and see what happens. After all, can you imagine what someone’s potential might be like if they had never been invalidated on anything in their whole life? If anytime they did something wrong, they were not told that it was wrong, but were simply shown how to do it right. Or even just allowed to work out how to do it correctly for themselves.
Maybe too good to be true, but something to work toward nonetheless.
Maybe if enough people did this, we could even change the world.