Fluffies : small gifts of Happiness
A Philosophy of Happiness - Confucius' Philosophy

With my younger brother Claus and sister Wivica, 1950s 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.

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 following decades.
90 year old Jean still very happy to receive a Fluffy Pam's greatest impact on me however was her lecture on staff management, where she introduced the simple principle of Pricklies & Fluffies.

  • Pricklies are critical comments of nasty or derogative nature which tend to have a negative emotional impact on the receiver.

  • Fluffies are praise, positive comments and encouragement which invariably have a positive emotional impact on the receiver.
So the message is simple : reduce you pricklies and give a fluffy whenever you can !
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 given.)

Confucius, 551-479 BC Giving a Fluffy is not always easy either. You have to overcome your self-consciousness, or you are simply too lazy or indifferent to bother.
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 it.


© 2016 Michael Furstner