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TED2008

Laura Trice: Remember to say thank you

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In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words "thank you" -- to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it.

- Counselor, coach and baker
Laura Trice is a counselor, life coach -- and purveyor of wholesome junk food. Full bio

Hi. I'm here to talk to you about the importance of
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praise, admiration and thank you,
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and having it be specific and genuine.
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And the way I got interested in this was,
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I noticed in myself, when I was growing up,
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and until about a few years ago,
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that I would want to say thank you to someone,
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I would want to praise them,
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I would want to take in their praise of me
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and I'd just stop it.
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And I asked myself, why?
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I felt shy, I felt embarrassed.
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And then my question became,
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am I the only one who does this?
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So, I decided to investigate.
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I'm fortunate enough to work in the rehab facility,
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so I get to see people who are facing life and death with addiction.
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And sometimes it comes down to something as simple as,
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their core wound is their father died without ever saying he's proud of them.
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But then, they hear from all the family and friends
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that the father told everybody else that he was proud of him,
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but he never told the son.
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It's because he didn't know that his son needed to hear it.
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So my question is, why don't we ask for the things that we need?
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I know a gentleman, married for 25 years,
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who's longing to hear his wife say,
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"Thank you for being the breadwinner, so I can stay home with the kids,"
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but won't ask.
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I know a woman who's good at this.
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She, once a week, meets with her husband and says,
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"I'd really like you to thank me for all these things I did in the house and with the kids."
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And he goes, "Oh, this is great, this is great."
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And praise really does have to be genuine,
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but she takes responsibility for that.
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And a friend of mine, April, who I've had since kindergarten,
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she thanks her children for doing their chores.
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And she said, "Why wouldn't I thank it, even though they're supposed to do it?"
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So, the question is, why was I blocking it?
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Why were other people blocking it?
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Why can I say, "I'll take my steak medium rare,
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I need size six shoes," but I won't say,
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"Would you praise me this way?"
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And it's because I'm giving you critical data about me.
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I'm telling you where I'm insecure.
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I'm telling you where I need your help.
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And I'm treating you, my inner circle,
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like you're the enemy.
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Because what can you do with that data?
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You could neglect me.
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You could abuse it.
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Or you could actually meet my need.
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And I took my bike into the bike store-- I love this --
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same bike, and they'd do something called "truing" the wheels.
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The guy said, "You know, when you true the wheels,
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it's going to make the bike so much better."
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I get the same bike back,
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and they've taken all the little warps out of those same wheels
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I've had for two and a half years, and my bike is like new.
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So, I'm going to challenge all of you.
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I want you to true your wheels:
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be honest about the praise that you need to hear.
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What do you need to hear? Go home to your wife --
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go ask her, what does she need?
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Go home to your husband -- what does he need?
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Go home and ask those questions, and then help the people around you.
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And it's simple.
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And why should we care about this?
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We talk about world peace.
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How can we have world peace with different cultures, different languages?
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I think it starts household by household, under the same roof.
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So, let's make it right in our own backyard.
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And I want to thank all of you in the audience
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for being great husbands, great mothers,
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friends, daughters, sons.
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And maybe somebody's never said that to you,
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but you've done a really, really good job.
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And thank you for being here, just showing up
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and changing the world with your ideas.
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Thank you.
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(Applause)
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About the Speaker:

Laura Trice - Counselor, coach and baker
Laura Trice is a counselor, life coach -- and purveyor of wholesome junk food.

Why you should listen

Dr. Laura Trice is a therapist and coach, devoted to practices that help people find fulfillment. She's created a therapeutic program called Writing in Recovery that uses creative skills such as journaling and music to help people develop better self-awareness and set goals. She's taught this program at such well-known clinics as Betty Ford and Promises. She's the author of the book How to Work Any 12-Step Program.

In her other life, she is the head of Laura's Wholesome Junk Food, making healthy cookies and brownies.

More profile about the speaker
Laura Trice | Speaker | TED.com