How Responding to Compliments Changes People

Overreacting to a compliment is self-absorbed arrogance.

Some people gush and say, “Oh it’s nothing,” while explaining at the same time how amazing they are. Then there are the verbose self-deprecating denials at the other end of the spectrum.

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A compliment:

Jon Acuff taught me how to respond with humility to a compliment. Before I tell you what happened, you should know that Jon is a #1 New York Times Best Selling Author six times over.

We chatted on Facebook Live on April 23, 2018. I was ready to end the conversation when I decided to let Jon know how much I admired his writing. There’s a reason he’s a best selling author.

I told Jon that I admired how he crafted sentences and paragraphs. His ability to end a paragraph in ways that pull the reader forward is incredible. His response to my compliment had two scenes. 

A response:

First, he said thank you. His body language let me know he appreciated the compliment.

He didn’t explain how to craft sentences. He didn’t explain his strategy for paragraph construction. What he did next was masterful.

Second, Jon turned the conversation to me. He told me something about me that he found encouraging. He made me feel awesome. In the process, something profound happened.

I learned something about myself that I hadn’t seen. I learned that experimenting has changed my life. I suppose I should have known, but I didn’t. There are contributing factors, but…

Experimenting is the only thing that changes our leadership.

An experiment is trying something you haven’t done. The process is simple, even if it is scary sometimes. You try, learn, and try again. That simple three step process changes us.

Everyday we choose to repeat or experiment. Repetition solidifies. Experimentation changes us.

What are some good and bad ways to respond to compliments?

How has experimenting changed your life?

Read: Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, by Jon Acuff

Visit Jon’s website:

The last 3:30 minutes of my conversation with Jon Acuff.

Then entire conversation is here (16:23).