Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Encouragement II

This thing about encouragement is eating at me (in a good way). 

Encouragement equals achievement. I cannot think of a more clear way to state it.  To be sure, encouragement can come in many forms - perhaps in the form of self encouragement (the hardest, I am sure), perhaps in the form of a teacher, most definitely in the form of those around us.  And is not solely the  power of the encouragement alone - although that is a strong motivator.  It is the atmosphere that such encouragement creates that creates the place where achievement becomes not only more possible, but likely.  But how is such an environment created?  Herein lies the thing which, if properly understood, could be the sort of thing that changes individuals, families, companies, even cultures.

Encouragement is not a total blinding to the nature of things as they stand.  Instead, it is the underlying belief and resulting atmosphere that while the potential of failure is understood to be present, that the potential to do better is always possible - and likely - as well.  If one fails or does poorly, the individual does not collapse into a heap of discouragement without hope nor do those around them pile on.  The understanding is that one will - and can - do better next time.

Is such an atmosphere the same as a blind belief that we must support no matter what in order to build the self esteem of others based on nothing more than a sense that they need to feel better about themselves to achieve?  Not at all.  There are expectations in the encouraging environment to be sure:  that one is truly trying their hardest and wants to get better, that lack of effort is not the same as a low level of skill of talent and so will not be rewarded, that one is as interested in getting better as all others present, and that one is able to work within the environment to help others feel the same level of encouragement.  There is no free right of support of others in such a place.

But I am coming to believe that such an environment as I have described above is crucial to success.  With such things someone can do things they never thought possible because they are in an environment where such things are believed and expected to be possible.  That environment, as we have mentioned, can be as little as one person - but that one person makes all the difference in the world.

Which begs the question:  how do we find, create, and or nourish such an environment?

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