Fluffies : small gifts of
A Philosophy of Happiness - Confucius' Philosophy
When I grew up in Holland (during the 1940s, 50s and early 60s)
you were not supposed to "wear your heart on your sleeve" or be
in any way outwardly emotional. At that time this was
just not done, even frowned upon.
© 2016 Michael
Having a strong introverted nature did not help either. So
I always felt too self-conscious, embarrassed and shy to
compliment others on anything they did or said.
When I was married and had a family I encouraged an praised my
wife and children, but (as far as I can remember) it did not go
much beyond that.
Then I joined Bougainville Copper Ltd. ("BCL", the
copper-gold mine on Bougainville Island, PNG) in the mid 1970s,
and my attitude changed.
BCL was without a doubt the best company I ever worked for with
regard to the treatment of their personnel at all levels !
Besides excellent facilities (housing, medical, schooling,
shopping) they provided numerous courses to improve skills. I
personally had 11 staff working for me and I sent each one of them
on a course, either in house, in Port Moresby or overseas.
I too followed a couple of management courses which were
beneficial, one of them by Pam Swain (who lived on the
island and was a member of my Bridge Club there).
Pam presented an excellent course on effective writing
which greatly helped to improve my writing skills over the
Pam's greatest impact on me however was her lecture on staff
management, where she introduced the simple principle of
Pricklies & Fluffies.
So the message is simple : reduce you
pricklies and give a fluffy whenever you can !
- Pricklies are critical
comments of nasty or derogative nature which tend to have a negative emotional impact on the
- Fluffies are praise,
positive comments and encouragement which invariably have a positive emotional impact on the
And don't restrict it to the workplace, you can apply it to all human interactions in life !
When you must give some critique try to do it in a positive way,
not always easy to do, but by trying you gradually get better at
it. (My daughter
Babette is a master at this. Whenever she has to fire
someone she has a serious talk with the person, after which that
person usually thanks Babette for the constructive advise she has
Giving a Fluffy is not always easy either. You have to overcome
your self-consciousness, or you are simply too lazy or indifferent
Especially in the beginning I really had to push
myself to make the effort to give a Fluffy.
Now it has reached
the stage that whenever I know I can give a Fluffy but don't do
it, I afterwards look upon it as a missed opportunity.
Giving a Fluffy is the simplest way to make a difference. You
give encouragement and a small spark of happiness to someone else.
And in the process it makes you happy about it too!
It has Confucius' philosophy all over