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Don’t Hate! Celebrate, Emulate And Congratulate

Here is an interesting characteristic of the human brain, it dwells on negativity. Have you ever received a fantastic compliment along with a small note of feedback and you focused on the feedback? That’s the brain and it seeks out comfort by gravitating toward other negative thinkers. This is why when we see someone achieve a goal we want to achieve our initial gut reaction may be to hate on them. Here’s the twist – every time you hate on someone for having what you want, you program your brain to not achieve that goal. Allow me to illustrate.

Say you want a promotion at work. You see someone else is promoted and you immediately go dark. Why should they be promoted and not you? It doesn’t even matter if that person is in a different function or department. Their promotion doesn’t affect you getting a promotion at all, yet you still hate on them. That’s the brain’s natural default. Here’s the twist, every time you hate on someone for achieving the same thing you want to achieve you program your brain against it. Your brain doesn’t think these things through your mind does. While you may be thinking you want a promotion, by hating on someone else you sent a message to your subconscious brain that you don’t like promotions. You’ve also sent energy out into the Universe that you don’t want a promotion. This is how the law of attraction works and why it is critical to fill your mind with positive thoughts. The next time someone achieves something, don’t hate, you should celebrate, emulate and congratulate. There is a biological reason we should do these four things.


You’re walking down the street and you see two people holding hands and cooing at each other. Deep down inside you really want this for yourself but your initial reaction is to throw up in your mouth a little bit. This is a time to celebrate. I’m not suggesting you run up to the couple and throw confetti all over them. You should mentally celebrate them. In your head say “that’s wonderful and awesome, good for them!”. When you get an email that a friend or co-worker has been promoted do a little fist pump or celebratory dance. You can’t secretly want something for yourself that you hate for others. This is one I work on. There is science to support why it’s important to celebrate the thing you want even when others get it.

The brain has a reward center. When you do something you enjoy you release happy hormones. The act of celebrating, even for someone else, releases dopamine. The brain records that release as a good thing. When you do something you don’t like the brain releases an unhappy hormone. That gets recorded as don’t do that. The brain is a bit of a drug addict. It wants the feel-good hormone. When you celebrate you tell the brain whatever you were just doing or thinking is good. The brain says “let’s do that again”. When you celebrate someone else getting a promotion, the happy hormone is released and the brain says promotions are good. The opposite is true. Don’t feel good about the promotion the brain says, let’s not do that. The brain will make micro decisions, unbeknownst to you, to move you toward what it perceives to be the goal. There are thousands of micro decisions our subconscious makes for us. You want your subconscious aligned with your conscious. A micro decision could be something like going the extra mile on a project or an idea that suddenly pops into your mind. Your brain will make micro decisions to help release the happy hormone. So, celebrate to program your brain to align with what you want.


I don’t believe in fake until you make it. I believe in imitation or, preferably, emulation. Imitation is about copying someone blindly while emulation is about doing something similar but modifying to fit your style or situation. Faking it to me means you don’t really believe you can do it or it’s not authentic. If you don’t believe something to be true, how can you make it there? When I see someone is successful at something I may just outright copy them until I get it. A great example is when I was pushing myself to become better at networking. I am an introvert. I realized in business school my more outgoing classmates were able to insert themselves into conversations and practically monopolize recruiters’ time. I had a good friend who was a master networker. In the beginning, I just copied him. I said what he said, or at least what I imagined he would say. I even stood how he stood. As I began to meet people and become more comfortable I switched from imitation to emulation. I adjusted his tactics to my style.

I prefer emulation because you are observing someone else’s gifts and combining them with your own to become even better. Emulation, if done successfully, is reinforced by the release of serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is a biochemical that is released when we feel people respect us or we have a sense of accomplishment or pride. Dopamine makes us feel good when we’ve accomplished a specific task or goal. Eventually, the constant presence of these feel-good chemicals coursing through our veins will drive us to repeat the behavior and improve upon it as we are rewarded for it. As I got better at networking, I wanted to do it more. As I did it more I refined my method and improved, thus releasing even more serotonin and dopamine as a reward for the behavior.


The best way to program your brain to deliver your success is to congratulate. Speaking the words out loud to the person allows your brain to further embed the message. Additionally, you set your own energy to vibrate at that frequency. You know what else? It’s just a nice thing to do. Who we are today is the sum of the words we spoke yesterday. Not literally yesterday, but in our past. The words we speak have much more of an impact than we realize. That’s why mantras are effective and recommended. It’s a vicious cycle. The thoughts that we convert into words become thought again. The more you think and say something the more you think it and say it. Gandhi is most noted for putting this concept into words but at its core, it’s something that has been known for centuries:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

In other words, haters gonna hate and winners gonna win. By actually giving congratulations to the person whether you speak the words, post them on Facebook or email them, you are programming your brain to deliver the results you want. Yes, even if you feel the person doesn’t deserve whatever they got. Should you congratulate someone who got an “A” in a class and you know for a fact they cheated? Probably not. Because the unintentional message you are giving your brain is that you value shortcuts or a lack of integrity. Your brain may subconsciously find ways to get you what you want that don’t necessarily align with your values. Lastly, when you congratulate someone the biochemical oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is the chemical that binds. It goes by several nicknames such as the hug hormone, the cuddle chemical, or the bliss hormone. This is that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you connect with another human being. When you congratulate someone, even if you’re a little envious, you will still push out oxytocin. The brain perceives that as a reward and will want to do it again.

Don’t Hate

Our brains are drug addicts. Luckily we were designed to be our own suppliers. Even though the human brain naturally dwells on negativity it craves reward. The tricky part is dislike, stress and anxiety also create a reward. We have to be conscious of what we want our brains to focus on. The same reason celebrating, emulating and congratulating work is the same reason eating a pint of ice cream after a bad break up works. The same biochemicals are released. Negative words, emotional eating, etc. can become the reward. Remember, the next time you hear of someone getting a promotion you wanted or similar to the one you wanted don’t hate, celebrate, emulate and congratulate.