HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsThe power of encouragement

The power of encouragement

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Everyone longs for appreciation and recognition, and will do anything within their capacity to obtain it.
Moreover, it is through encouragement that some seemingly mediocre personalities have been propelled from the lowest rungs to positions of distinction.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a prominent 19th century poet and artist.

At one time, he was approached by a very elderly man who had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to evaluate.

The old man also wanted to establish whether the sketches demonstrated any artistic flair and potential.

Rossetti looked at the sketches attentively and realised that they were worthless.

They showed not an iota of creative talent.

Rossetti was at pains to advise the old man that there was not much worth in the drawings and they by no means showed much talent.

Being the kind man that he was, Rossetti was apologetic but apparently, he could not lie to the old man.

The old man was disappointed at Rossetti’s response and he expressed regret for having wasted the great artist’s time.

He however requested Rossetti to have a look at some other drawings he had which were done by a youthful art student.

Rossetti was very enthusiastic of the aptitude they revealed.

Rossetti said that the young student had great talent and was supposed to be given all assistance and encouragement in his vocation as an artist. Rossetti went on to say: “The young man has great prospect as an artist if he only works hard and sticks to the trade.”

At the words of Rossetti, the old man’s countenance turned pale showing that he was deeply moved. Upon this development, Rossetti asked who the young student was.

The old man pointed out that it was not his son but it was him — 40 years earlier. “If only I heard your praise then. You see, I got discouraged and I gave up too soon.”

Are you not one person who is giving up too soon because of what the world may have said to you?

What your dream requires above all else is encouragement.

For the best to come out, there is every need for words that keep you focused as long as it is called today.

Many lost it in life because they were never given the right information that propelled them to high places.

One challenge in the world today is that what continually gets into our ears is negativity to say the least and utmost garbage at the other extreme.

Even though we may be living in a highly negative world, there is every need to seek and align with those people and places where encouragement can be gotten.

Those who were of mediocre talents rose to higher positions because of the encouragement they received.

Likewise, those with exceptional skills and talents never managed to go far because they were not provided with the piece of encouragement that propelled them to the high places.

“Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow man the warm sunshine of praise.” (Jess Lair)

Animal trainers seem to have identified the secret that lies in encouragement.

They are known for giving incentives each time there is a positive development in the skill that they want mastered.

Dogs are given meat as a way of encouraging them to give of their best. Isn’t it a wonder that the human race is found wanting in this aspect in that we don’t use praise but condemnation?

We would rather criticise and ridicule than give a supporting hand. Encouraging the slightest of improvements inspires the other person to keep on improving.

The great behavioural psychologist, BF Skinner, used the basic concept of praise rather than criticism in his teachings and experiments.

According to Skinner, criticism should be
minimised and praise emphasised.

The good things people do ought to be emphasised and by so doing, there is reinforcement.

The poor things that are ignored will tend to waste away due to lack of attention.

A tale has it that a certain man’s vehicle got stuck in the mud. He walked to a close-by farmhouse to ask for assistance.

The owner of the farm highlighted that his aged mule Ding would get him out of the ditch on its own.

The man looked in disbelief at the old mule as he thought that there was no way such a mule would manage to pull out his car.

The farmer, however, insisted that Ding was able to execute the assignment with ease. The car owner realised that he had nothing to lose after all.

The two men and the mule made their way back to the trench. The mule was hitched to the car. The farmer started shouting: “Pull Jack, pull Fred, pull Ding!” He continued shouting in this manner and Ding started pulling with all his energy.

Amazingly, in no time, the mule had pulled the car out of the trench. The car owner could not help but ask why the farmer had to call different names. On that, the farmer smiled and said: “Old Ding is blind. As long as he believes he is part of a team and you encourage him, he doesn’t mind pulling.”

Such is the power of encouragement at work.

There is nothing that can stand in the path of an individual who believes that they can achieve what they desire.

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