Indian appreciation and social support culture needs a reboot.
Stingy Indian appreciation culture is a great impediment to our collective progress. Because what I have seen in my life is, Indians are lacking with appreciation and support for even friends and family.
I have lived in a few other countries and have seen people in these cultures being so supportive and appreciative of their kind. And that helps a lot of them do things on their own and get traction — just using friends and family.
Many billion dollar companies have started this way. With an idea getting support from friends, family, and the community helping it become bigger. Even this company like Medium, or a Facebook started this way.
I remember once an investor asked me what sort of social approval I have for my product. I retorted, “What do you mean so many thousands use it”, showing my analytics. It impressed him.
He asked me if all my friends and family use my product? I said ‘No’.
He asked why? I said, “I showed them my product, but they didn’t use it”. And it really surprised him to hear that. He asked if they didn’t even try? I said, ‘Nope, even after asking a few times’.
He was definitely feeling something was wrong about this. The why of it was confusing for him from his cultural stand point.
But only I knew why — In India you can get some Amit, Ahmed, and Albert to appreciate your creation and support it. However, it is very difficult to get your friends to appreciate what you do.
Especially if they know you did it!
That’s the pathetic culture am talking about. Sure, we Indians are very diverse, and there are many cultures within our country that are very good in supporting each other. And the economic success of these communities in India speaks for their supportive culture.
But overall, I see Indians are very shy and stingy with appreciation, while very liberal in criticism.
And when the support happens, it is overwhelming and short term — more like ‘I don’t want to be left out while others are appreciating, so let me also get in’ kind of support. This kind of support I see happens more among the fairer sex.
At least that’s better than none. But it does nothing to motivate and help friends long term in what they are doing.
In 2020, I saw a lot of friends taking on their own ventures and creative work. So I think 2021 is the best time to be in full-on appreciation and support mode. It will definitely help our friends get motivated and do more. Or it is so easy to feel — “OK, I do this or that, but nobody seems interested. Let me quit.”
If in 2021 you want to change something about yourself, go ahead, be liberal in your appreciation of others. And support them if you can in whichever small way possible.
Also, accept help from others without overthinking on why the other person is offering it.
Because I see asking for and taking help is another fine thing we are not good at in our culture. I have always found the most successful people are never shy of asking questions, advice, and help. They don’t have fear of rejection.
They continuously strive to improve themselves by learning from others and taking their advice. They achieve success faster by taking help whenever they can. This trait is as important as giving appreciation and support.
Social approval and support are big components in human motivation. Don’t overthink about doing both and don’t be stingy. It is not wrong someone expects your approval displaying their work.
It is not showing off.
So give appreciation directly to them, share their creations and ideas with others without them asking, and help them if you can in doing more. You will see the appreciation and support that goes out from you will come back 10x when you need it.
This I believe will certainly lead to more success for our friends and family. And eventually for the society. As this culture spreads, it will show as economic growth in our country, am sure.
There’s one more cultural aspect to this I want to touch upon.
The culture of developing and maintaining relationships. From my personal experience, I can say this: I think most people suck at it in our culture.
I have friends who I will regularly invite for drinks or activities and they will always be busy. But suddenly one day they will call me to ask for some advice.
Because they know I am knowledgeable in that topic, and my personal advice is valuable to them. Or they will remember me only when they need to request some things from some country am traveling from.
I really do not mind helping. And I am ready to always give my time, knowledge, and help. But where’s the reciprocity? A friend who never calls you, never asks you what’s up, and will never give you company, now suddenly needs help, advice, and your time.
That’s not cool. Building friendships and maintaining relationships are very important. It is a continuous process. Just like giving appreciation, giving time and attention to your friends is easy and costs nothing. But returns are high. Invite them into your life, offer help when you can, and be in touch.
And if someone has been valuable to you, and has helped you, appreciate that and say thank you. Gratitude not just makes for good relationships, but science says it makes your own life happier and contented.